Sharing culture through art

Mira at The Art Lounge is holding an exhibition for a number of different artists called Multicultural Connection. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

 

Art is a fantastic communication tool and can sometimes express what words can’t.

More than 20 artists will be expressing their culture and have their unique art on display at The Art Lounge’s Multicultural Connection Group Exhibition running from September 20 - October 10.

Owner and creative director of The Art Lounge NZ, Mira Corbova says that the goal of the group exhibition is to share people’s stories. “My idea behind the Multicultural Connection exhibition was ‘sharing the story of how we all connect’. I wanted to share stories of people who have emigrated to New Zealand and what their connection is to this country. We are using the immense value and importance of arts to raise the awareness of multi-cultures in New Zealand,” says Mira.

“All of the artists are New Zealanders but they come from all over the world – Slavic countries like Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, there are a few New Zealand and Maori artists, there are artists from Tonga, South Africa Britain and more.”

Mira says there will be a mix of artists and art styles on display at the exhibition and there is something to capture everyone.

“All the pieces have really interesting stories behind them,” she says.

Wild Kiwis

Take, for example, Vjekoslav Nemesh. Originally from Yugoslavia and now a New Zealander, Vjekoslav’s piece ‘Wild Kiwis from another Dimension’ is one unique piece.

“Twenty six years ago on the way to New Zealand, I had exhibition in Sri Lanka which we named In the Middle of the Road,” says Vjekoslav.

“Inspired with a little pamphlet on which was a picture of sliced kiwifruits I started doing paintings which had floating halves of kiwifruits.”

The group exhibition will help people to see a different side of people intertwining their own culture with New Zealand culture. “Aotearoa is our home now,” says Mira.

“As an immigrant sometimes you have to explain why you feel more connected to your new country than to your birth country and that can be really hard to explain. I wanted people to be able to explore and explain that through art.”

 

‘I feel free’
And Mira should know. Born in Slovakia, she moved to England in her 20s for personal freedom and lived there for 12 years before permanently immigrating to New Zealand about seven years ago.

“When I moved to New Zealand I was excited but a bit sad to leave everything behind; my family and friends, my career… but I just fell in love with this beautiful place and met so many wonderful people here,” she says. “There is so much space, so much nature. It’s a much slower pace here, there’s not as much pressure as you have in Europe. It’s so different. I feel free and so connected to this land despite all the challenges I’m sometimes facing. I feel very grateful to be living in New Zealand.

“I had a rough start when I moved here and one day when I hit rock bottom I said to myself: ‘if there is no art what else will I do? Art is everything I know, everything I love, and I just want to help people through creativity’, so I started The Art Lounge NZ back in Taupo and that was almost five years ago.”

Mira is passionate about arts and helping people through creativity.

“I started The Art Lounge NZ because I wanted to create an art space that was welcoming and also give the opportunity to other artists to exhibit and share their passion, their stories. I run monthly exhibitions and events for the local community and Tauranga visitors. I’m passionate about connecting people through creativity.

“Every month we run exciting events that are free and open to everyone to enjoy and connect through art and have a social gathering.

“I also offer the opportunity to artists across all of New Zealand to exhibit and share their stories through art.”

A chance to share

The gallery interacts with the community by designing programmes such as inspirational art talks, workshops, exhibitions and events that inspire, encourage, educate and entertain while recognising excellence in the visual arts. Mira aims to connect everybody with art through her gallery.

“What I’m trying to establish is to offer art to everybody, not just the people who want to collect, I want to offer art to people so it can bring them joy. I am proudly supporting New Zealand made art and all our gifts are also authentic and hand-made. We have different pricing, different packages for people who would like to pay art off with interest-free art loans,” she says.

“I would like to encourage the locals to visit the CBD that is pretty much alive despite all the works! There are so many wonderful, passionate and hard-working people with superb businesses here that despite all the challenges we all are facing, we are not giving up and making the city vibrant and exciting place to be.

“I’m trying to bring joy to people’s lives through art and also help creative people.”

Multicultural Connection will be running at The Art Lounge, 117 Willow St, from September 20 to October 10. The opening night is this Friday, September 20, from 5pm. Entry is free.

For more information, visit: www.theartloungenz.com