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Conservation time on Raoul Island reflected in art exhibition

Nov 4th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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WET FLOOR: Sarah Matthew uses humour in her photo exhibition from Raoul Island

WEEDING an island and going “a bit potty” inspired an art exhibition at Thistle Hall gallery next month.

Artist Sarah Matthew spent six months on Raoul Island earlier this year as part of a DOC conservation team.

“I really wanted to be there as a volunteer but art is something that I take with me wherever I go. It’s like a compulsive disorder,” said Matthew.

Raoul Island is part of Kermadec Islands, and at 1000km northeast of New Zealand is the country’s most northern outpost.

Matthew said her exhibition Raoul, Island Time gives people an insight to life on the island.

“People who spend time on Raoul value the island and the experience immensely, it’s a beautiful place.”

She said the exhibition is quite amusing but also encourages people to think about things.

“I use humour to discuss more serious topics in a light hearted way,” says Matthew of her all photo exhibition.

This is not the first exhibition Matthew has had at Thistle Hall.

“I had my first solo exhibition there so it’s nice to go back.”

She studied Fine Arts at the Quay School of Arts in Whanganui, graduated in 2005, moved to Wellington in 2007 for three years and had an art studio in Shelly Bay.

Life on the island consisted of weeding and maintenance.

“It sounds really simple but it’s not like weeding your vegetable garden. It was a very thick bush and kind of jungle like,” Ms Matthew said.

Living on a remote island contributed to the strong bond she had with her colleagues, but it was also a challenge at times.

“Any people living in isolation are bound to go a bit potty.”

The trip home from Raoul Island took three and a half days.

“It was quite nice that it took so long to come back. It gave us the opportunity to wrap our heads around the fact that we were coming home.”

Ms Matthew is currently in France as part of an artist in residency program but will be back in Wellington in time for her exhibition.

Opening night for Raoul, Island Time is Tuesday, November 19 and the exhibition runs until the 24th.
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is a Whitireia journalism student covering the Mount Cook area in Wellington. He has a BA in Political Science and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
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