Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Day New Zealand came to Christchurch 2

The smallest number in this blog is 1, the biggest is 17.5 million, and there’s lots other great numbers in between.

6 weeks ago it started with a single text message after a 7.1 earthquake and today it ended with 124,000 Cantabs (1/3 of Christchurch’s population) enjoying 9 hours of continuous music from 29 acts and $17.5 million being raised from all over NZ for the disaster relief at the biggest ever concert to be held in New Zealand.

Band Together was a free concert organized by NZ musicians for some light relief for Cantabs after the 4 September quake. Jeff, Naomi and mr 11 went but mr 15 found his own way there and back. Jeff’s Mum handled the motel which was much appreciated.

Jeff headed off at 8.30 to get seat space and relaxed till others arrived. The music started on time and was a who’s who of NZ music. The depth that has developed in NZ music over the last 3 years is quite incredible and it really showed today. The last 2 acts were good but definitely old-school NZ music and Dave Dobbin’s act really struggled to keep pace with the newer talent on display.

124,000 earthquake victims were treated to a wonderful cultural display. The logistics were incredibly well managed, the whole concert it was all done to clockwork using 2 stages side by side. That so many acts could keep time is probably unheard of in the music industry and no doubt due to the event wide alcohol ban – and that appeared to include the singers. In the crowd close to us, yes we did see wine confiscated. Good idea but sober people don’t dance much.

We were also visited by Mayor Bob Parker and Christchurch’s own John Key Prime Minister.

So thanks NZ for coming to Cristchurch for the day, it was good. Tomorrow we get back to getting Christcurch back to what it was.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Ron Mueck Exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery

I was alone in the room with Wild Man – a magic moment I hope everyone also has the chance to experience, but I doubt it because there will no doubt be a long queue of people lining up to see this true to life exhibition.

I am not one to actively visit exhibitions although the pre-hype and an invite from the Christchurch Art Gallery got me to the preview one day before the opening and I was not disappointed. And after so much destruction around the city, and the venue being the Civil Defence Head Quarters after the 4 Sept. earthquake it’s great to see the Art gallery being an art gallery. The Art Gallery gets a thumbs up from me for organising this exhibition which is only being shown here.

Ron Mueck is an intensely private person said Neil, my guide to about ½ of the exhibition whom had met Ron only days before when he was in Christchurch for the exhibition preparation. Yet, despite his quest for privacy, Mueck allows his inner self to be shared in this exhibition including the sculpture of his deceased father complete with Ron’s own bodily hairs and an in-depth video presentation of how this exhibition came about. This, the lack of physical barriers in the gallery and the raw power of the expressions that Mueck has captured means the visitor is enveloped in the exhibition rather than being a mere viewer.

From the larger than life Pregnant Woman, In Bed and Wild Man to the minute yet intricate Youth, Two Women and Woman with Sticks, Mueck has created a surreal yet intimate world that will make you want to turn away with embarrassment. But don’t, along with expression of raw emotion is also the technical brilliance – these were all made, hair by hair, pimple by pimple by the artist. I recommend walking through the exhibition 3 times to soak up the artistic, emotional and technical aspects of this most wonderful exhibition.

Exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu - 2 October 2010 to 23 January 2011. Book your Christchurch accommodation at CentrePoint on Colombo Motel.

The Gallery says the graphic material may not be suitable for everyone.