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Art exhibition explores the universal

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Among the Flowers Art Collective members showcasing their work in Howick are, from left, Agnès Desombiaux Sigley, Marion Gordon-Flower, Justin Sobion, Jasmine Hope, and Penny Otto. Times photo Wayne Martin

An art exhibition in east Auckland will feature works exploring subjects as diverse as familial bonds, the rewriting of stories told through photographs, the uprising of artists challenged by Covid-19 and the horror of the Ukraine War.

The exhibition is entitled Perspectives: Te Tai Ao Notions of the Universal and opens at Uxbridge Arts and Culture in Howick on February 9.

Uxbridge visual arts programme co-ordinator Ashleigh King says: “The exhibition features the work of the Flowers Art Collective, 11 artists of diverse ethnicity and viewpoints, brought together by a common interest in the challenge of bringing the illusive into tangibility.

“Each has a unique perspective of what the universal might mean and at the same time commonalities are there to be discovered and interpreted by the viewing audience.

“The show is full of media variety in contemporary painting, photography and in illuminations which use internal lighting.”

Among the members of the Flowers Art Collective taking part in the showcase are Agnès Desombiaux Sigley, Marion Gordon-Flower, Justin Sobion, Jasmine Hope and Penny Otto.

Hope’s work uses acrylic and mixed media and she says it’s her first work on a circular canvas.

“I connected to the concept of the universal and the vision I had for my work was to represent the cyclic nature of the Earth.

“I used vibrant greens and Earth tones in the work to represent the purity of nature and of mother Earth.”

Hope says her aim is for people who view her work to feel connected to “divine energy”.

“I want people to reconnect to nature and the gifts that it gives us, the nurturing quality that Papatuanuku [Earth Mother] has.”

Otto’s contribution is 12 works on paper which she says are explorations of primary colours with some experimental line drawing thrown in.

“They were done blind, meaning I was looking at the subject – the flowers – and not at the work.

“Because of that there are obvious breaks in the work as the ink has run out on my knitting needle or my pen and I haven’t seen it happen.”

Desombiaux Sigley is entering five photographic works printed on fine-art textured paper.

Her approach uses intentional movement in the creation of the image.

“The theory is reverie or amusing and my sense of belonging, to finding your sense of place in New Zealand, but also these pieces connect me to where I come from, [being] France.

“The movement is a physical movement but it’s also emotionally moving.

“Being moved by the land, the landscape, and connecting to my own emotion and needs.”

Gordon-Flower’s works are hexagonal and grew through the Covid-19 pandemic when artists suffered limitations as to the types of materials they could access and work with.

“The four pieces are [representing] Earth, water, air and fire.

“It relates to long ago, to the Egyptians and their sciences, going back to astrology and how they had these personality types worked out.”

One of Sobion’s two paintings in the show depicts well-known Barbadian singer Rihanna.

He describes it as “kind of seductive” and says she’s from the Caribbean, as he is.

“I looked at the theme of the exhibition, of perspective and universality.

“She’s known for her tattoos and one of them is of Egyptian hieroglyphics, so even though she’s from the Caribbean you can be interested in those things.

“When you talk about universality you think about planets and we are part of the universe and the Earth and we have different communities.”

The exhibition is in the Malcolm Smith Gallery at Uxbridge Arts and Culture, 35 Uxbridge Road, Howick.

Its opening night is from 6.30pm-9.00pm on Thursday, February 9 and it’s on until March 11.

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