The Spinoff: The Great Contemporary Art Road Trip

Pretty art deco Napier’s plain sister is arguably more reflective of the richness and diversity of its cultural soil. Recent directors have got the Hastings City Art Gallery’s ‘70s hexagonal honeycomb-designed galleries buzzing as a site for emerging art practices and creative communities, including a strong commitment to different ethnic and indigenous viewpoints.

 The gallery is currently showing photographer Richard Brimer’s Harvest show about seasonal vineyard workers (local vintner and writer Toby Buck wrote about it for The Spinoff late last year), as well as the first survey show of excellent Samoan New Zealand painter Andy Leleisi’uao, Kamoan Mine; a documentary collaboration between photographer Ans Westra and writer Adrienne Jansen, The Crescent Moon: the Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand; and bright formal modernist work – a neat stylistic fit for the building itself – by an emerging painter getting strong national attention, Leanne Morrison.

 Stunning pou of Heretaunga ancestors by local carvers guard the gallery outside, and there’s a heartbreaking mural of wounded World War II soldiers by Peter McIntrye worth checking out in the next door War Memorial Library.

 Round the corner from the city gallery you’ll find Parlour Projects, another dynamic regional dealer prepared to pick up strong emerging artists ahead of the big city galleries. Now in its fourth year, Parlour reopens on March 14 with the luscious, squiggling baroque painting of Auckland’s Grace Wright.

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The Spinoff: The Great Contemporary Art Road Trip