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Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

An exciting addition to the east of the central city is The Art Shop gallery, located in the lovely old art deco M.E.D. building in Armagh Street, opposite the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

The Art Shop – outside
The Art Shop – inside

They have a great selection of paintings and sculpture, and everything is for sale. It reminded me a little of COCA gallery years ago.

The first item that caught my eye was Phoenix by Christian Vee, with wings that move up and down.

Phoenix by Christian Vee

A striking portrait of John Lennon in Ukrainian colours was called Give Peace a Chance. The Beatles seem to be topical at the moment. I enjoyed a documentary about them on Maori TV a couple of weeks ago, and I see that their music is coming to the Town Hall next month.

Give Peace a Chance by Liam Downes

Lovely mosaics by Jane Santos featured Wellington buildings.

Mosaics by Jane Santos

I coveted the Quail Family, but the price of $950 was outside my budget, and I don’t have a suitable place to display it.

Quail Family by Elisha Jordan

There’s lots more to see, and I shall certainly go again. It will be interesting to see how the stock changes as items are sold. There are plans for a wine and coffee bar too.

I’m pleased to see this new art shop
with works that I thought were tiptop.

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Walking among trees is a particular pleasure on these sunny autumn days. I try to walk for 20-30 minutes every day, and it’s always good to have a destination such as the library, the postbox, or the Art Gallery. On days when none of these is required I walk beside the river, around the Avon Loop, on what used to be Oxford Terrace. If I have plenty of energy and time I return along the Cambridge Terrace side of the river. When I need to have a shorter walk I come home along Kilmore Street.

There are usually other people on the river path. Some are running, some pushing baby buggies, some accompanied by dogs. I always give a greeting, except to those who are concentrating on phones. Most respond, and some stop to make conversation.

If it’s a weekday there will be the happy sound of small children playing in the pre-school at the south-east end of the Loop. There’s usually litter to be collected and deposited in the nearest bin. Lately I’ve contemplated the idea of wearing gloves and carrying a rubbish bag for the more objectionable items, but haven’t yet done so. Today there were several shot glasses on the roadside (which I didn’t pick up) and it occurred to me to wonder whether the litterers could be identified by their DNA.

It’s always a delight to admire the trees and the birds (except perhaps the Canada Geese who leave unpleasant deposits on the path).

Willow tree in the sun
Autumn leaves

Today there was a sleeping bag wedged under the arm of a bench and I wondered whether someone had slept outside last night when the temperature went down to a freezing 0 degrees.

Sleeping bag

When I arrive home I reward my exercise by doing the daily Wordle. Today I failed to guess it within the allotted six tries. A couple of other times I’ve needed to ask a friend to give me a clue, but this is the first time I’ve failed completely, and I realised I hadn’t been concentrating hard enough on the letters I’d already confirmed. Maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.

Do you have a favourite place to walk where there are trees?

The Loop’s a pleasant place to walk,
admire the trees, and sometimes talk

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Walking around the Loop I heard a strange sound and realised that a man walking behind me had shoes that squeaked. Luckily he was walking faster than me and soon overtook me. I quickly snapped his photo, and as he strode ahead the squeak diminished and all was peaceful again.

Man with squeaky shoes

I remember hearing that if shoes squeak it means you haven’t paid for them. In older days new shoes often squeaked until they were broken in, and if you were poor and had to buy them on credit they stopped squeaking about the same time you paid them off. If only one shoe squeaks does that mean you got them for half price?

Apparently a squeak can be because there’s moisture in the shoe and this can be cured with talcum powder. Sometimes the squeak is because the soles are too smooth and roughening them with sandpaper may help.

You may appear a little freaky
if your shoes tend to be quite squeaky

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streets stream with artworks
some there for years
like elephants on Manchester
others are brand new
a giant cat on St Asaph
these portraits delight me
more obscure ones
show video games
alien cartoon characters
perhaps familiar
to the younger generation
I stop and think
their worth is in the eye
of the beholder
it can be a fine line
between street art and graffiti

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Rain precluded a beach walk today, so we went to the Botanic Gardens instead. The autumn trees there are beautiful and especially so when viewed through misty rain.

We weren’t sure what cafés would be open for morning tea but the one at the Antigua Boatsheds was welcoming. Beside the building there was a large pink rabbit.

Later s/he came inside the café and handed out Easter eggs to the children.

Easter, originally Eostre, is a spring festival, and its story of rebirth always seems out of place in the southern hemisphere. The Easter Bunny predates Christianity and was originally the Moon-hare, sacred to the Goddess in both eastern and western traditions. Seeing the Easter Bunny gives me a gratifying reminder of how pagan traditions have persisted into the present day.

We mark it at wrong time of year
yet Easter Bunnies still appear

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A seasonal delight at this time of year is the opportunity to scrunch through piles of dead leaves. Scrunch is a special word which describes the noise produced by hard things being pressed together. To make that noise the leaves must be dry, and our recent lack of rain is useful here. The leaves must also be curly, they won’t have that crunchy sound if they are flat on the ground.

Last week I enjoyed scrunching my way past Victoria Square:

Autumn leaves by Victoria Square

Today I’ve been scrunching along Bealey Avenue.

Autumn leaves on Bealey Avenue

Where have you been scrunching lately?

It’s satisfying when you scrunch
to hear those crisp dry leaves go crunch

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Seeing Swans

I often see black swans, usually in pairs, as I walk along the river. This morning one swooped down near me, with her wings outspread, showing their white tips.

Lone swan

She seemed a little agitated, I wondered where her mate was, and whether she was hoping some passerby might feed her.

On my way home I saw what I suspect was her mate, lying dead on the footpath near my home. Possibly he had been hit by a car, although swans usually stay away from the road. I rang the City Council who said someone would come and remove the body, and a few hours later a man turned up with a shovel and a black rubbish bag.

Removing the dead swan

I always understood that swans mate for life, and learned recently that white swans have been known to take another mate after one has died. Apparently Australian black swans, from which ours are descended, are particularly unfaithful, with one in seven eggs unwittingly reared by a male who is not the father.

I hope “my” swan finds a new mate
with whom she can interrelate

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Christine and I decided this morning we would walk into town and try to find those of the murals from the Flare Festival which Stephen and I had missed last week. Down Manchester Street we found a display for Slap City, a recent Paste-up and Sticker Festival which I hadn’t known about.

Slap City display

Murals which had been only partly painted last week were now complete, and we were delighted to find this giant cat mural by Swiftmantis. It’s actually right outside the part of the Little High Eatery where Stephen and I had lunch last week, but we’d missed it. A passing woman kindly took our picture holding the cat’s paws.

Giant cat mural

Round the corner we found a 2019 mural by DCypher and OiYou showing local historical scenes including the McKenzie and Willis building, all painted as a negative film strip.

McKenzie & Willis building

By this time we needed refreshment and stopped at Lemon Tree for morning tea. This café is an old favourite and while the ambience inside is fascinating, I prefer to sit outside these days as a Covid precaution. (We got a passing dog walker to take our photo.)

Ruth & Christine at Lemon Tree

We found a further Flare mural at 87 Manchester Street but weren’t sure just what this one was supposed to be. I discovered later it is by Ikarus and shows an eclectic array of video games and cartoon characters.

Mural at 87 Manchester Street

Another Flare mural was at 198 St Asaph Street, painted by Meep, a local artist:

Mural @ 198 St Asaph Street

Heading down Colombo Street we had a chance to enjoy the bird mural on the South Frame which I’d often seen from the car, but not been close to before:

Bird mural

Near this was a portrait of Sir Ernest Rutherford by Jacob Yikes, DCypher, and Ikarus, which is part of the Flare Festival.

Sir Ernest Rutherford

So much to see on city walls
great street art work that just enthralls

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Today we set out to see the Flare Ōtautahi Street Art Festival, but it wasn’t easy to find. I’d downloaded a map from their website, but it doesn’t clearly show where the new murals are to be. The festival runs 2-12 March, and some of the works are still in progress, like this one we found on the site of the old Excelsior Hotel.

Mural in progress

We decided to stop for lunch at Little High Eatery. It seems to still be busy, with plenty of space for physically distanced seating. We chose the Latin Kitchen and Bar which has a rather cluttered appearance.

Latin Kitchen and Bar

I selected Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish, with beef, onion, tomato, capsicum, and rice. I found it rather salty, and Stephen suggested the name might be a clue to that, but in fact the name just means sautéed beef. Luckily there was plenty of water available.

Beside the Eatery we found this mural:

A good message for today

We walked round the back of the replacement Billens Building, and discovered another artwork. I particularity liked the Molotov crayon.

Mural behind Billens

The facade of the Cotters Building at 158 High Street had been restored, and a new building added. This has a mural on its side, rather fearsome warriors flanked by lotuses.

Side of Cotter’s building

I understand one artist in the Flare Festival is known for drawing giant cats, but we didn’t see any. Maybe we’ll look again later. (Afternote: you can find street addresses for the artworks here.)

It’s great to have this new street art
to brighten up the city’s heart

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This show of sixteen local artists is at the Linwood Arts Eastside Gallery until 26 March, open Tuesday-Saturday, 12 noon-5pm. It’s a community gallery, keen to encourage local artists, and they also hold a variety of classes when the pandemic permits.

This is an eclectic exhibition, and I found some items more attractive than others. It was good to see that several had already been sold, which must be encouraging.

Burlesque Dancer by Nicole Wu
How the Light Gets In, collage, by Di Tanner
Temari Balls by Toni Logan & Sandy Corbett

To show your art you must be bold
and it’s so thrilling when it’s sold

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