Claire Earlie Maxwell draws on the value and scarcity of water for her latest selection of works.
The collection, titled “Blue/Gold” to be displayed at the Aigantighe Art Gallery, features myths, legends and the “fear factor” of having no water.
“Rivers have dried up and it’s now an expensive commodity all around the world – that’s the bottom line,” she said.
With this in mind, she has created works using gold leaf over blue paint to illustrate how rivers were becoming increasingly dry, and water expensive.
Another element of the exhibition will include digital images, created by Earlie Maxwell, featuring elaborate actors as urban myth and legend characters.
The images follow the Irish legend The Cattle Raid of Cooley, which has the same underlying message as New Zealand’s scarcity of water, she said.
The myth and legend aspect also features Gaelic designs to incorporate Earlie Maxwell’s Irish heritage.
She moved to New Zealand 36 years ago, after living in England, Italy, Mexico and the Middle East. Despite not having lived in Ireland for many years, it was still a place close to her heart.
“Blue/Gold”, to be displayed from January 21 to April 1, will also include two DVDs.
One is about river water and the other is about Aoraki Mt Cook.
“I made Aoraki as a gold object and then parts of it break away and then they come back again,” she said.
“I think that, really, if we are not careful here .. we are going to lose parts of our country. We have to be very, very careful about how we do things, basically.”
Earlie Maxwell said there were many aspects to her work that she enjoyed.
“I enjoy people’s reactions [and] I like to share what I’m doing and I have a pride in my heritage.
“I have lived longer in New Zealand than I did in Ireland so I have two heritages now,” she said.