Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand is about to start a massive redevelopment that is both exciting and sad for locals as we farewell the galleries we grew up with.
The Museum has been emptied and international and local street artists have made their mark on walls throughout the galleries, offices, and collection rooms for SHIFT Urban Art Takeover before the building closes in April for 5 years. I was surprised at what I photographed. I captured artwork that made an impression on me, but much of it was about memories, nostalgia, and funny things. Like being part of a secret club with in-house jokes.
Read on for my 11 favourite treasures at SHIFT Urban Art Takeover (with some extra bonus photos at the end).
Tips for planning your visit:
1. GLOW IN THE DARK ART
There's maximum impact near the start of the exhibition with glow-in-the-dark Flox and Sweats in the old vertebrate store room.
An added bonus is wearing white and also glowing in the dark. That vibe never gets old.
2. BIRD HALL MILARKY
I think I'll miss the Bird Hall the most when the museum is redeveloped. The weird light, green carpet, and feeling the serenity. And hearing people bonk their heads into the angled glass.
Milarky is giving it a hilarious send-off, replacing birds and eggs with these guys.
New works will evolve from the artists’ responses to their location, the physical qualities, the room’s purpose and the idea that there are certain items or stories that are distinctly part of the Museum’s history, and these might include scientific knowledge and related items that have been used in the building. There is an opportunity for artists to create new stories, especially those who have grown up here and have an undoubted connection to the Museum.
5. MARGARITA VOVNA
The old Asian Arts Gallery is another space with the Green Carpet of Nostalgia. I was drawn to Vovna's murals. Her work looks so tactile. I can imagine how the shiny subjects feel. The colours in the artworks by Component, Ross Liew, and Margarita Vovna are glorious together.
This is one of those galleries that made me Google the artists and learn more about them.
7. SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS HALL
The old special exhibitions hall felt spaciously grand after exploring all the little nooks and crannies of museum storage spaces and offices. It includes work by Ikarus, Benjamin Work, Wongi 'Freak' Wilson, Thom Richardson, Eno, Askew One, Jacob Yikes, Drapl, BMD, and personal favourite of mine - Milton Springsteen.
10. ASIAN ARTS GALLERY REFLECTIONS
I found a spot tucked away with excellent reflections of the Botanic Gardens and 19th Century Mountfort-designed windows. It was a comfy place to sit for half an hour watching people go by.
The spray can is by Ghostcat.
For me, SHIFT Urban Art Takeover represents the shift in art accessibility and diversity since the 2011 earthquake.
In the last 12 years, the arts sector in Christchurch has loosened up. Manoeuvring around bureaucracy (thumbing your nose at it) and collaborating with like-minded people became valuable skills - regardless of background or education. There are fewer barriers to creating art. I hope this continues.
This blog shares tips and tricks for you to get involved with photography, and keeps you up to date with my exhibitions and shenanigans.