• Waiheke artist turns kauri cobbles into treasured pieces

One of Waiheke’s best-known artists has an exhibition on now at the Community Art Gallery.

The artist is Barbara Robinson and the show, which runs until 1 March, is called Unearthed: A love affair with kauri.

The exhibition notes explain the fascinating history of these little kauri blocks:

It began with large stands of kauri trees cut, transported to Auckland, milled and laid as cobbles for Karangahape Road in the early 1900s. Soaked in creosote to withstand trams, they were later covered in bitumen.

‘Unearthed’ is composed of exterior slices of kauri that were left by an ingot making process for Headland Sculpture in the Gulf 2017 by Matte Harte and Anton Forde.

In ‘Unearthed’ they experience their final intervention and Barbara has visually documented the kauri journey and elevated them into artistic artefacts that respect this ancient, endangered medium.

Barbara was born in Christchurch in 1950 and taught visual art to thousands of students from Year 1 to Year 13. During her 35 years of teaching she explored almost every art medium, style and genre. Time constraints meant her creativity was limited to small series of work, annual group exhibitions and local art sales.

Six years ago, she moved to Waiheke, where resourcefulness, upcycling and authenticity are celebrated, and that encouraged her to repurpose found materials – such as these pieces of an ancient kauri forest that once lined a major street in Auckland.

Barbara is one of the artists we visit on our Waiheke Art Walk and our Private Art Walk, so we’re very pleased that we can offer our guests the opportunity to see her work displayed to full effect in a lovely gallery – along with other high quality work by Waiheke artists.

6 February 2020