The days of visiting galleries and exhibitions are temporarily on hold. The lost opportunity to get motivation from walking through new spaces and soaking in different works is a void The Big Idea wants to help fill.
Our ‘House Visits’ series takes you into the homes and working spaces of people in the creative world, to see what they have collected on their travels, what it means to them and what they’re using as inspiration inside their own four walls.
I found the first two weeks of lockdown exciting – a bit like a holiday. Come week three, the reality started to kick in and I started to feel slightly anxious about where this would all end.
Week four has been the hardest by far. The gallery (The Vivian in Matakana) has been under enormous pressure, and this isn’t helping!
It’s just been me and my dog, Skippy, in lockdown and it’s felt lonely at times.
Living with art has always been a great joy of mine though, and I take great comfort from that; it offers a deep human connection in one sense so you can feel lonely – but never quite alone.
I’ve collected seriously for over 15 years so there’s always something to look at, change out, or rehang.
Born on Bentinck Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Sally Gabori (c.1924-2015) is one of Australia’s most significant contemporary Aboriginal artists, Her works are all landscapes, stories and memories of the place she grew up in. Dibirdibi Country, 2010 was one of the first I bought.
It’s a raw, dramatic and uncompromising painting – but it’s also humble and honest. It’s a fantastic example of how art can allow human beings to connect with each other, irrespective of time, culture, place and language differences.
The table is by young furniture artist Rupert Herring, based in the Kaipara. I visited him in his studio and commissioned him to do a dining table for me.
It’s made from upcycled and recycled wood from old floorboards and balustrades from old NZ villas. Rupert carefully cuts and slices these original pieces to expose the new virgin wood inside, while allowing the original ‘old’ façade to provide a contrast between old and new.
It’s contemporary furniture, but with a long and colourful history. I often think about the stories it could tell. It’s one of my favourite pieces and I use it every day.
The third item is an early bronze age bowl from around the 5th century BC – probably from the region north of Syria. It’s made from terracotta and is an utterly simple form. In its day, it would have been a bit of bronze aged Tupperware, likely used for storing oil, grain, or flour for example.
When kids visit the house, I encourage them to touch this so they can literally hold 170 generations or so of human history in their hands. It’s a simple, beautiful and much-loved object.