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Exhibitions | Galleries | Studios | Street Art | Art in Public Places | Ōtautahi Christchurch and Canterbury
Main Image.

Walking up a mown field that has browned in the sun, the eucalyptus trees with silver leaves invite me up to a peopled Stoddart Cottage. There are children past the fence, adults sheltering under the trees on picnic blankets with wide-brimmed hats and sun block on, holding glasses of wine. I can hear the warmth of those gathered in their conversation and when I hear Nichola Shanley of the Ripon Street Collective talk about their show, Nine Lives, it is clear that the guiding force of this exhibition is friendship.  

To the onlooker who did not know of Stoddart Cottage as a historic landmark or gallery space, we may well have just looked like a large family gathering at the homestead. The domesticity of the cottage is a well-chosen stage for the treasures contained. A merino walking cloak, bags for holding, vessels for pouring and receiving all speak of a journey to arrive in this house, finally sheltered. It follows that the Collective walk together, doing the Banks Peninsula Track every year to enjoy the whenua and to break bread with each other. Within the main room of the cottage the exhibition is humbly and beautifully a table full of the Collective’s work.  Spilling out from this altar, walking sticks lean elsewhere, cloaks and bags hang over chair backs and trinkets grace the hearth. The map for the exhibition is a hand-drawn delight with items individually represented and numbered 1-58!  

Embroidered, knitted, woven, drawn, painted, piled, cast and thread, these motley objects engage with each other in a deep familiarity. Works are piled or sit neighbourly alongside. There is no white wall or gallery’s “breathing room” here. The works are in a lively dinner table conversation and look as though they have been for some time. Among the domestic items lie evocations of the archetypal. Triptychs, a winged lion, a haloed woman, a star spiralled towards by a snake and tiny amphora lend a visual language to the felt connection over time the title of the show suggests. The Nine Lives alludes to past lives and the luckiness (or magic?) of cats, but also to the individual lives of each of the nine Collective members. These artists have woven those lives together in their communing over walking, eating, drinking, conversation and creation, reminding us that connection is the artist’s bread and butter.  


Ripon Street Collective, Nine Lives

Stoddart Cottage Gallery, 2 Waipapa Ave, Diamond Harbour

5 – 28 January

1. Ripon Street Collective, installation photograph


Ripon Street Collective at Stoddart Cottage

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