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Passion and Beginnings


Sun 19 Nov 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm
Mon 20 Nov 2017, 10:00am–4:00pm
Tue 21 Nov 2017, 10:00am–4:00pm
Wed 22 Nov 2017, 10:00am–4:00pm
Thu 23 Nov 2017, 10:00am–4:00pm

Where: Creative Arts Napier, Community Arts Centre, 16 Byron Street, Napier, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Christine Heaney

‘Passion and Beginnings’ is a joint exhibition of painting by Helen Staehli and Graeme Sawyer.

Helen Staehli was born in Basel, Switzerland, near the river Rhein where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. It is called Three Country Corner. She grew up in a family with two sisters. Helen lived in Zurich, Los Angeles, New York and Chiang Mai. In 2013 she relocated from Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Napier. It is her favourite place to work and be creative.

Helen was early in her life fascinated by the energy and expression of Modern Art and Architecture. She discovered that human beings choose colours and forms to express their unconscious side of the personality and mental state. Helen sees Modern Art as a manifestation of constantly changing energy fields, caused by humans’ emotions, thoughts and actions.

Helen started her Atelier in an old spinning factory in Switzerland. She worked with well-known European and Swiss artists and organised workshops and exhibitions. Later, she set up her atelier on the Ping River in Chiang Mai, inspired by an energetic tropical atmosphere and vibrant culture. Besides creating artwork, Helen works as Natural Medicine Practitioner in her clinic in Napier. Helen’s paintings express her love and passion for Art.

Graeme Sawyer was born in Hastings, Hawkes Bay, NZ, and is now based in rural Waipawa on an acre where he has space and peace to create his artworks. Graeme always loved art at both Primary School and High School. With the help and encouragement of his mum he bought his first camera at age 12. To raise the money he grew lettuce plants and sold them for 6 pence a bundle to the chinese lady who ran the local greengrocers. The camera he saved for was a Kodak 127. A few years later he joined the Hastings Camera Club winning first prize for the first photo competition he entered.

After leaving school Graeme was encouraged to obtain a trade and he became a carpenter. In time designing and building his families homes in New Zealand and later in Australia. Graeme was able to funnel some of that ever present creativity into his building projects, though he often felt frustrated. Always longing to take photos, paint, draw, construct sculpture or work in those creative and exciting ways that he had had a small taste of in his early years at school.

During the 80’s whilst living in Hawkes Bay Graeme worked with a local photographer and in time began photographing weddings by himself. Whilst living in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Australia Graeme tinkered with recycled and found wood and made mirrors and picture frames—these were popular and were sold at the Eumundi markets on Sunday mornings and soon found their way into interior shops around Queensland.

In recent years Graeme has continued his love of collecting old pieces of wood and metal—one could say even a little obsessively at times. His attraction to the colours, textures and beauty of the found objects may be because they emanate the very history of themselves, rusting, discolouring and weathering in all kinds of interesting ways. Perhaps this is aesthetic truth for Graeme—using this sort of material, patching together histories in aesthetically coherent ways to create composition.

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