(The Voice That Hangs From The Sky)
1985 Acrylic on Canvas
930 x 620mm
A month after returning to New Zealand in September 2016, I exhibited at the FORTA LEZA Restaurant, Katikati, to coincide with the Katikati College Centennial Reunion.
I grew up on a dairy farm near Katikati and attended Katikati Primary School. However, at the time, Katikati College did not offer Art as a subject, so I boarded privately in Tauranga and attended Tauranga Girls’ College so I could study Art.
Nevertheless, fortunately, Katikati College also claim me as theirs. Several of my paintings are exhibited in the College, including Reo Irirangi, which I donated to the College many years ago.
The Tauranga Girls’ College Reunion in 2008 held an exhibition of past pupils’ recent work. I painted The Regal Marriage for this exhibition, and brought the large rolled canvas and its dismantled frame with me on the plane from the Gold Coast, Australia. Henry Weeks and I had made the stretcher and frame in kit set form. I re-assembled it in the College hall and disassembled it to take it back to Australia. Being so large, it is the new focal painting in my permanent exhibition.
The Regal Marriage
2008 Acrylic on Canvas
1760 x 1130 mm
FORTA LEZA Exhibition, Katikati, Oct 2016
Exhibitions usually are filled with such anticipation and excitement, but all this disappeared for me when I discovered my three shipping containers were opened without authorisation and unpacked by the container storage company.
All my paintings I placed for this exhibition which I placed at the front of the container for easy access, were unpacked, and replaced at the back of the containers.
Shock! What was I to do?
The alchemist that I am at turning dross into gold, requested previous patrons of my art to loan me back my paintings they had bought. We had a wonderful exhibition of paintings I thought I may never see again – a reunion of old friends. Two of my Katikati Primary School teachers came to the exhibition. It was so great being back in my old home town. Also, my hosts and I were once near neighbours in Reas Road. What a lovely welcome.
Katikati Mural Town’s
OUR PEOPLE – OUR STORY
A mural designed and painted by Irene Tuscia-Falconer in 2002, repainted by Elizabeth Kyle in 2017
Fellow Katikati artist, Irene Tuscia-Falconer designed and painted the fifteen square meters mural in 2002, with the help of Alana Forde. However, over the years it had fallen into disrepair, and because Irene was unable to repaint it due to ill health, she asked me if I could help her. I offered her three weeks work, however, when my time was up, she was reluctant to see me go and I was persuaded to persist.
I had my own life to attend to but felt that if I didn’t finish it, the damaged mural would be destroyed. By the time I reached the middle panel: Constable Hugh Hunter, whom I remember, and Mrs. Mary Atkinson, of whom my father Charlie Grainger was very fond from teenage years, and who I met as a young girl, I knew I needed to keep going as these important people in Katikati’s history deserved to be remembered.
These were my father’s friends and they all had an interest in the wellbeing and prosperity of our small country town and its people. I knew these people and looked up to them as role models, as I did with my father.
Probably, my most loved person in Katikati, apart from my father, was the wonderful June Carlton. She was a Goddess who was so loved by so many; such an inspiration to us all; selfless; talented; a magnificent art teacher; beautiful; wonderful mother; designer; seamstress; actor and much more. She was a family friend and my biggest support person in my childhood Art life.
June was also a founding person in making Katikati a Mural Town. However, she was not included in the original Mural, so I took it upon myself to pay homage and include her.
It took me nearly eight months, full time, to repaint OUR PEOPLE – OUR STORY. I have my own rather detailed style, as you know.
I also needed to research the photos for myself as many records had not been kept.
After the repainted mural was reassembled on the Katikati Museum wall it started to deteriorate again in the sun’s heat.
It has now been replaced by a digital copy and the original Mural is safely stored for future reference.
The above photo shows the state the mural was in after the warped and splintered plywood had been glued, bogged and sanded.
When Irene asked me to restore her mural, I didn’t tell Katikati Open Air Art as I truly did not think I could finish it and I did not want to let anyone down.
The Zeus Gallery
Elliot Mason, artist, friend and owner of THE ZEUS GALLERY, 35 Chapel Street, Tauranga, had been asking if I would have an exhibition in his gallery for several years. Even though I told him that I had no paintings to sell as I was concentrating on writing a book; and I only had reproductions of paintings, greeting cards and ‘How to Draw’ books, he was not deterred.
So, we agreed that I have an exhibition of my Private Collection of over seventy works which I managed to retrieve from my shipping containers. There are more works in the containers, but I employed six packers for a day and that was all I could retrieve in the time frame.
Elliot is the grandson of the late George Harrison, owner of George Harrison’s Gallery (later Harrison’s Gallery) 11th Avenue, Tauranga, when I was a young artist. George and I worked very well together, and I had sell-out exhibitions in 1975, ‘78 and ‘83.
Now, forty years later I was still exhibiting with the family I love. Elliot’s family were neighbours at Whakamarama before I emigrated to Australia. So, this was a wonderful reunion, with my dear friend Wendy Mason (nee Harrison) whom I had known since teenage years, and everyone else.
I have to say that Elliot’s curating was even better than his grandfather’s. He is such a delightful man and an expert at his job. We had a wonderful time. As in Australia, we had a Medieval-costumed Opening Night. When I arrived, the gallery was packed with ‘Medieval characters’.
I didn’t get many photos of the whole event as people wanted a photo with me and I had to ask them for a copy. Sorry for being in so many. We had a mini banquet of medieval finger food and wine. The ‘Medieval’ night made me feel like I fitted into New Zealand life a little more.
The exhibition was on for three wonderful weeks. It was such an anti-climax when it finished. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting ‘White Wind’ and friends back into the shipping containers.
Then Elliot had a great idea.
“What about a Touring Exhibition.”
The following pages are of three back-to-back exhibitions of my Private Collection at: The Zeus Gallery, and with ’The Incubator Creative Hub’ at The Tauranga Historic Village, both in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, and at Castle Pamela in Tirau, South Waikato.
These exhibitions (from 6th October 2018 – 13th January 2019) were a mammoth undertaking. Thank goodness for the generosity of my brother Phil Grainger with his large horse truck for moving the works, and for my friends’ help with hanging and packing quickly.
(At the end of 2019, after six years and eighty exhibitions, The Zeus Gallery closed, as Elliot wished to get back to fulltime painting.)
The Incubator Creative Hub at The Historic Village is an oasis of creativity. I received such a welcome and I had such fun.
I joined in with happenings such as the Ukulele Exhibition, visited other artists’ galleries. and more – such a wonderful art community.
You may like to visit The Historic Village if you are in Tauranga. Ring The Incubator to check that it isn’t their day off, before you go though.
CASTLE PAMELA. An exhibition at Castle Pamela was, as you can imagine, a highlight! Scroll down x. I hope you enjoy my exhibitions via photos ❤❤❤
THE ZEUS GALLERY
2018 6th October – 27th October
The Zeus Gallery was a very versatile space and looked so different with each exhibition. Elliot designed the details to create a ‘castle’ atmosphere for me.
Some clients returning to pick up their framed pictures thought they had gone into the wrong building. Right: I included some of my works from the late 1960s.
The top pencil drawing is called ‘Free Thinker’ 1969. Detail. Lots of people sleepwalking – unaware. ’Think for oneself.’
Above: Figures in Landscape 1969, Poster Paint. | Below ‘Koru Design’ 1968. An Indian Ink design for a saucer, showing my love of Māori carving design at an early age.
At Tauranga Girls’ College, we had a most wonderful Art teacher, Claudia Jarman, who instilled a sense of design within us. I think it is important that young people can see works we oldies did at their age. I hope they find them inspiring. My encouragement to upcoming artists is to Observe, Appreciate and Practice.
2018 December TAURANGA HISTORIC VILLAGE, 17th Ave, Tauranga
My exhibition at the Tauranga Historic Village was back to back between The Zeus Gallery Exhibition and the Castle Pamela Exhibition.
By divine grace the Blind Institute had just moved from this house (top right) and as the Tauranga Arts and Garden Festival was commencing in three days’ time, I was permitted to occupy this building if I could be open in time for the opening. My brother, Phil Grainger, helped me move over seventy exhibits here and they just fitted in the entire building.
This exhibition was a great hit with children as most other Historic Village venues do not involve activities. One had to be very well behaved to have the privilege of riding Mystic Moon, the rocking Unicorn which I made in the 1970s. Families would spend hours dressing up in different medieval costumes.
It was, once again, wonderful to be in my home city of Tauranga, and having so many people remember me from my early years living in the Bay of Plenty.
2019 January CASTLE PAMELA
10 Bridge Street, Tirau
I was immensely privileged to have this pop-up exhibition here in this magical realm. OMG This Castle and I were made for each other.
As I create this page, I am doing my utmost to secure this perfect gallery space and residence as a permanent resting place for my art and home for the rest of my life. It still may or may not happen.
If it does, the Castle will be called Elizabeth Kyle’s Castle. After searching for 36 years, I believe I have found what I was looking for. So, one day I hope to meet you here.
MIRACLES DO HAPPEN and we need more uplifting, inspiring places to visit in this sometimes depressing present day world.
This was the final of my three exhibitions.
I have not felt so at home for ages. The exhibition was held in The Stag Hall which accommodated less than half the exhibits, so I chose the most Medieval works.
My permanent exhibition is intended to be in the Doll and Toy Museum space. I have enough Medieval chattels, wares and exhibits to fill the whole castle in my three shipping containers I brought back from Australia.
All ‘Medieval’ stuff (theatrical only).
Of course, as my exhibits are part of my Private Collection, you will be seeing the same works at each of these exhibitions.
So here are a few closeups of exhibits you have seen in the distance.