by Insiders Dunedin

Above: Aroha Novak's 'Frozen' (Detail), from the Dunedin School of Art's The Material World.

As I have said countless times, one of the best things about living in a city that takes tertiary education seriously is the constant flood of new ideas we get to be exposed to. The main upside of a transient population – it would be great if a few more big thinkers stuck around after graduating – is the fresh enthusiasm for thinking that arrives on our doorstep every February.

For the local arts community, though, it is the other end of the year that heralds the great excitement. The catwalk show by graduating fashion designers at the Otago Polytechnic School of Design is an annual highlight at that end of the calendar, as is the Dunedin School of Art’s annual graduate show Site. These are both an excellent opportunity for the community at large to take the pulse of our young talent. Some stick around in Otepoti for a while, and we get to watch their work evolve in the years to come. Others scatter across the globe never to be heard of again. It is a process of constant creative renewal that doesn’t ever look back, which makes The Material World: Sculpture at the Dunedin School of Art 2002-2013 (on until May 31 at the Dunedin School of Art Gallery, Riego Street) a rare reflective treat.


'My Heart's In Chester' (Detail) by Benjamin King.


'Down By The River' (Single Channel Video Loop Still) by Amy Jo Jory 

The Sculpture Department often produces the blockbuster works at Site, and has a reputation for being a demanding and rewarding place to study thanks to the high calibre expected of students by Head of Sculpture Michele Beevors. Beevors has curated a hectic programme forThe Material World, culled from over a decade of DSA stars past and present. Some of the works are encore presentations, but there is a great swathe of new work from her ex-students, too.

The show is an advertisement for the diversity of sculptural practice, from performance to ceramics, by way of animated film, glass, broken records, papier mache, Spanish bricks, soap and even pencil on paper! For older heads, it is a chance to catch up on careers that may have been flying under their radar, while for recent arrivals it is a great chance to get some historical perspective in fine art creation in Dunedin. Highly recommended. 


'The Yearner' by Katrina Thomson


'Wishing Wellby Liz Rowe. 

Post Submitted by Aaron Hawkins


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