July 25, 2008

Budding Artists Explore Identity

oncepts of identity in visual art that go beyond the portrait are explored in an exhibition of work by the region's secondary school art students at the Suter gallery.

The exhibition, ID:ME, is the brainchild of Suter educator Esther McNaughton, who earlier this year invited year 10 students from across the region to a portrait exhibition, then asked them to develop their own work around the idea of identity.

Art students from Collingwood Area School, Garin College, Golden Bay High School, Motueka High School, Murchison Area School, Nelson Boys' College and Nelson College for Girls responded.

Suter acting director Julie Catchpole said it was "interesting" to see how many of the young artists chose to respond with graffiti- inspired pieces but said the overall standard was very high and the ideas were more sophisticated than one might expect from 14-year- olds.

There are clear references to other big-name artists, such as in two pieces with the words "I am a Kiwi", or "I am hunter" - referencing Colin McCahon's massive I Am canvas.

In some instances, the references to the established artists have been so pronounced that the student's art has been hung alongside that of the working artist.

On one wall, a piece by Garin College student Matthew McCutcheon sits beside that of well-established artist Richard Killeen - almost a smaller mirror image.

Other students who had come to see the exhibition had been inspired by seeing they could create impressive art works, using just the materials available at school, she said.

On August 16 at 2pm Mandy Rudge, senior lecturer in contextual studies at UCOL in Palmerston North, will discuss identity and art from the perspective of visual anthropology at the Suter.

r ID:ME runs until August 31 at the Suter, 208 Bridge St.


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