by Chris Tobin
Reproductions of artworks from the Aigantighe Art Gallery’s permanent collection are featuring along Timaru’s coastline.
Five signs have been installed from Caroline Bay to Patiti Point.
“These five will test it to get feedback,” said Roselyn Fauth, of WuHoo Timaru, who, along with husband Chris Fauth, initiated the idea and then worked in conjunction with the art gallery, the Friends of Aigantighe and local businesses to make it possible.
“It would be great to do 40 panels over the whole district.”
She said the idea was to use the artworks to show Timaru’s history. They could show what sites looked like in the past compared with the present day, or they could relate to the location of the sign and its surroundings.
The panel at Patiti Point is a John L. Higgs painting of the coastline capturing the scene looking north towards central Timaru and the harbour in 1884.
The six-storey Timaru Milling Company building, which is still standing, is in the painting but there have been significant changes since then.
“It’s an interesting way to use art to show history. It’s incredible how much the coastline has changed.
“Who’d think we would see all those cranes. It’s a growing history,” Mrs Fauth said.
Each panel has explanatory text and Mrs Fauth envisaged future panels would incorporate local poetry and social history tales.
“We’d like to link the panels in Caroline Bay with Patiti Point,” she said.
“It gives a snapshot of how much has been achieved since Timaru was established.”
Once the network of panels was completed throughout the district, a scavenger hunt/map would be prepared to encourage locals and visitors to explore and find them.
Aigantighe exhibitions curator Hamish Pettengell said it was a great way to get the gallery’s collection out into the community.
“Much of the art of South Canterbury is influenced by the amazing environment that we live in, so this summer the Aigantighe and Friends have decided to bring our art out into these environments.
“This is a pilot project and if it’s well received this year, it’s something we could look at expanding throughout the district.”
businesses had been very generous in their support, donating materials and time to the project.
WuHoo Timaru has created other free family activities around the town, including a children’s treasure hunt at the Timaru Botanic Gardens, a sculpture trail and brass rubbings of historic plaques in Timaru.
Besides the John L. Higgs’ painting, the panels are:
William Ferrier’s Breakwater, Timaru, Running a Southerly Gale, 1888; William Greene’s The Unemployed, a painting of donkeys that gave rides in Caroline Bay; another Greene painting The Roadmakers, of four horses ploughing a road near the sea, and William Gibb’s painting Timaru Harbour, 1888.