Norah Johnson came to New Zealand from Toronto when she was seven years old. Her Irish-Canadian father and Kiwi mother settled the family in Auckland, and though it initially came as quite a culture shock, gradually Norah came to love living in the City of Sails.
In her early 20s, Norah visited Canada on a pilgrimage to her birthplace, but halfway through her trip she began to miss New Zealand. “I missed the beaches, the light – the open skies.”
Norah returned home to do her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and English Literature, followed by a Master of Arts in Communications Studies. After her Masters, Norah began painting and exhibited at Franklin Arts Centre, NZ Steel Gallery, Megan Dickinson Gallery and Hangar Gallery.
It was on a visit to Christchurch, post-quake, that Norah felt an attraction to our city and eventually made the move here. Ōtautahi is now the city she calls home.
Of her current exhibition Homage to Home at McAtamney Gallery, Norah has this to say:
“I’m an abstract expressionist. Colour and mark making are my primary tools for expression. My work embraces the accidental, the spontaneous and the experimental.
“I work intuitively – interacting with the canvas in a non-critical, unpremeditated way. I seek to bypass the conscious mind (as far as possible) and engage with more subtle, intangible processes of art making. I want to discover how colour and marks interrelate in a harmonious, balanced and abstracted manner to ultimately reveal their lyricism.
“Homage to Home is about the universal need and desire to put down roots and cultivate harmony within a landscape that is both domestic and geographical. Motifs and references of Mid-Canterbury and Christchurch have consistently featured in my work since I arrived 18-months ago. My work attempts to provide the viewer with a perceived sense of belonging to a time and place recorded and then distilled in an overall impression of that experience.”
Susanna Izard loves the drama of dark skies, the interplay of light and shade, the power of nature, which she describes as “awe inspiring, wonderful and terrible!”
When it comes to her paintings, the “three big things” are lines, light and rhythm.
Though working on landscapes for now, Susanna responds to the challenge of anything that catches her eye.
“During lockdown I kept a daily drawing journal and drew things both inside and outside.”
Inspiration is never far away, with Lake Tekapo and the stark, uncompromising beauty of the Mackenzie Country right on Susanna’s doorstep, it’s just a matter of loading the ute with her paints and painting kit and heading on out there.
McAtamney Gallery in Geraldine is hosting Susanna’s exhibition, Clarity and Beauty in a Mad World, on November 11.
It is the only gallery in New Zealand specialising in urban contemporary art, and with the most recognised names in the genre associated with it, Fiksate Gallery has much to be proud of.
It was the Spectrum 2015 Street Art Festival that brought husband and wife artists Jenna and Nathan Ingram together with stencil artist Clint Park (Porta) and curator and art historian Ruben Woods.
They meshed so well that they rented studio space in New Brighton, which organically evolved into Fiksate Gallery.
A move to the UniMed Building on Gloucester Street in 2018, and connecting with Life in Vacant Spaces, raised Fiksate’s profile, with eight exhibitions since, drawing some of the top echelon of urban artists – AskewOne, Pener, Milarky, Meep, Joel Hart, Jacob Yikes and Dcypher.
When not running the gallery and custom framing service, holding workshops, such as Wednesday fortnightly sticker making classes Slapcity, or raising young son Frank, Jenna and Nathan produce their own artworks under the pseudonyms of Jen and Dr. Suits.
Next up in November for this dynamic duo is an exciting exhibition showcasing everything urban art – from photography to graffiti – featuring the cream of Aotearoa’s female urban artists.
It is a stellar representation from the art world’s finest taking part in the Open Weekend and Art Show on November 7 and 8 at Windsor Gallery, 386 St Asaph Street.
With over 130 pieces in the show and over 30 artists represented, from Aotearoa to Dubai, this promises to be one of the most exciting events for lovers of art.
Photographer Andris Apse; sculptors Anneke Bester and Matt Williams; and artists Joel Hart, Bruce Stilwell, Belinda Nadwie, David Woodings, Svetlana Orinko, Philip Beadle and Ivan Button (paying homage to Jackson Pollack), gives an indication of the high calibre of artists being showcased.
Whatever your taste – urban or abstract, photographic or sculptural – this art show speaks to all ages and all periods of life.
For those captivated by an exhibit, be assured every artwork is for sale.
Open 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday November 7 and 8. See online and Facebook below, or
@windsorgallerynz on Instagram.
ARTarama 2020 is a don’t miss event for those wanting to buy exceptional works of art donated by artists to raise money for Nurse Maude Hospice.
For 10 years ARTarama has been successfully adopted by both artists and the general public alike as a unique opportunity to showcase the talent of Canterbury artists while also raising money for charity.
This year, for the first time, it will also include sculptures and garden art.
The exhibition, which attracts a large and impressive line-up of established and emerging artists, has proved a must attend event for collectors and art lovers, allowing them to see and buy some of the best of New Zealand art.
Held at St Andrews College, ARTarama runs from October 9 to 11, starting with a function on Friday evening to launch the exhibition, preview the work and hold the art auction.
On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibition is open to the public and they too have the opportunity to buy art.
The last three ARTaramas, supported by Nurse Maude’s long-term sponsor, House of Travel, have seen a total of $60,000 raised by the Bishopdale Burnside Rotary for the hospice, making a significant contribution toward the cost of hospice care which Nurse Maude provides free of charge to its patients and their families.
Tickets for the Friday gala evening are $25 each and available by emailing
Art in a Garden presents the outdoor exhibition Sculpture North Canterbury at Pegasus Bay Winery this spring. Art lovers can enjoy a glass (or two) of wine as they take in the work of some of New Zealand’s most talented sculptors – including Ben Foster, Matthew Williams, and Hannah Kidd – in the lush garden setting.
Commencing October 17 and running for six-weeks; this will be the event’s third year at the winery and is free to the public.
An exclusive preview launch party is happening Friday October 16 and the best part?
Tickets are still available! For a modest $40, guests are treated to the exhibition, a selection of canapés, live music, and performance art.
And if you are really feeling a connection to a piece, all of the art is for sale during the six-weeks.
If this sounds like something you just can’t wait to attend, tickets are only available from Eventfinda. Visit the Pegasus Bay Winery website for more details.
An illuminating new project is giving a fresh perspective on Christchurch’s world-renowned street art. Sustainable lighting business, Gen Green, and street art champions Watch This Space have joined forces with project managers Living Space and the help of a council grant to celebrate the city’s street art by darkness.
Compelled to provide the community a free and interesting reason to come into the city centre after dark Gen Green and Watch This Space successfully applied for a Christchurch City Council Enliven Places Project Fund and have also been supported by project management firm Living Space.
Gen Green co-founders Greg Dirkzwager and Brendan Stafford have supplied the lighting for the initiative and Watch This Space Urban Arts Trust’s Reuben Woods has helped select eleven artworks and artists to be featured.
Greg says, “We really want to be part of the effort to get people back into the city centre and help the businesses there while also creating something interesting for people to do after dark.”
Reuben, who did his PhD on the subject of Christchurch’s street art, is passionate about providing both the art and artists a platform to have their work discovered and accessed – and giving the public a new opportunity to engage with the form.
He says the art and initiative has taken on a parallel meaning as attention turns to support our communities through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The art has a lot of meaning and to many people in Christchurch as it represents the city during its toughest times.
“Some of the works talk about rebuilding and the restoration of Christchurch, so it’s important for us to do something now – and that’s lighting it up.”
Brendan says the installation process, hindered slightly by some springtime rain, was well thought out to illuminate certain parts of the art works, while also protecting from potential damage. It also involved extensive co-ordination with building owners to obtain access.
The eleven artworks chosen can be viewed on a map at www.watchthisspace.org.nz/#map and includes favourites like Askew on Gloucester Street, Kevin Ledo’s Whero O Te Rangi Bailey at the Crowne Plaza, Rone at Cathedral Square, and Erika Pearce at Allen St.
Hair Art and Beauty has a new stylist. We caught up with Sharon Screen about a career that has taken her around the world.
With years of experience I find myself still absolutely passionate about all things ‘hairdressing’.
I’ve travelled the world, creating and showcasing fabulous hairstyles from London, to Italy, France, Japan and even on the catwalks of New York.
Having been an educator to top hairdressers around the world, I’m now loving being back on the salon floor with clients in a great environment as a member of the fabulous Hair Art and Beauty team.
Wether it’s cutting, styling or technical colouring that is required, I’ll enhance your look, create your point of difference and reflect your personality.
As a stylist with exceptional avant-guard cutting skills, technical expertise as a colourist and natural flair, I’ll create looks that are totally on-trend and suited to you.
I offer a very personalised and professional service.
When not in salon, you could well find me consulting clients on their gardens as a landscape architect (BLA Hons), or perhaps I might be helping couples shape their perfect wedding day…. doing all the flowers and venue stylings as I’m also a registered marriage celebrant.
Keeping active is always important, golfing, playing tennis or jumping on my bike for a quick fix and enjoying my family and friends helps make it all worthwhile.
When it comes to hair, my philosophy has always been ‘it’s more important what we leave behind than what we take off!’
Come and find me at Hair Art and Beauty on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I welcome new and existing clients.
Visit the beautiful alpine village of Hanmer Springs, park your car and take a stroll up Conical Hill Road to Tait Gallery. Take time to browse and chat to the gallery owner, William Taylor – his passion for the arts is infectious and his gallery is full of colour and vitality. You may even meet some of the artists in person during your stay!
William enthusiastically describes Hanmer Springs as, “the cultural centre of the South Island”.
The village might be small, but it boasts two very fine art galleries, one of them being Tait Gallery, which opened three years ago and quickly became known as a sought-after destination. “We represent over 50 different artists and display a wide range of mediums at affordable prices,” William says.
He loves to promote established and emerging artists in the space and it’s not just for the adults; there’s also a children’s section for those between 8-15 years old.
The gallery also has a varied selection of exquisite glassware, sculptures, pottery, wood turning, ceramics and jewellery.
This gorgeous place of passion is just another addition to the must-sees of Hanmer Springs which make it a hotspot of the South Island.
Tait Gallery is located at 34 Conical Hill Road and open Thursday to Tuesday 10am to 4pm. For more information, phone 027 432 5914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Painting may have been one of the hobbies New Zealanders took up over the course of the lockdown. YouTube tutorials may have sufficed then, but now it’s time to increase those skills further.
Enter Art Metro, a creative hub that has produced hundreds of happy students.
Metropol caught up with owner Simon Walmisley about the art school and the exciting opportunities arising for him.
“I believe that what we do here at Art Metro is far more than running a business,” Simon says.
“It’s a community service for people from all over the city, a social experience in a studio space where more than 300 students can enjoy each other’s company.”
Taking that community service as a springboard, Simon has decided to branch out into politics this year, standing under the New Conservative Party banner for the Ilam electorate.
“New Conservative’s strong focus on families and communities really appeals to me and I am excited to represent them as a candidate. I am sure campaigning will be just as challenging and rewarding as I have found being a business owner is,” Simon says.
“As I have with Art Metro, I will make the most of the opportunities that arise.”