HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 587: 2 November 2011

The Silk Road of Rarotonga
Saturday afternoon saw lovers of art, textile and colour visit the Silk Road – in Arorangi that is! ‘Silk Road’ is an exhibition currently showing at local gallery The Art Studio in Arorangi, which opened for preview on Saturday 29 October. It features works by artists Kay George and Sylvie Egrotti and is an eye-catching combination of Egrotti’s hand-stitched pieces, as well as one-off silk fabrics, garments and wall-hangings hand-painted by George.
Sylvie Egrotti was based in France for many years with her husband Michel Kirsch, also a practising artist. In France they own ‘Le Domaine du Lac’, where they host tours of the property’s expansive gardens, scattered with works of sculpture throughout, as well as events and exhibitions hosted in a stunning workshop space. The creative couple have spent the last few years travelling and are currently based in Rarotonga, engaging in voluntary work in schools, as well as continuing their respective art interests. George said she met Egrotti and Kirsch in Rarotonga when they visited the gallery owned by George and her husband, The Art Studio. Kirsch is a sculptor whose pieces can be viewed at The Art Studio. He works with an array of materials, including stone, and George noted that Kirsch has already run some workshops in stone carving since he has been on the island. Egrotti’s pieces featured in the exhibition make use of materials such as silver thread, photographic transfer on fabric and beads. George expressed how painstaking the work that goes into each of her pieces is. “That is totally all hand stitched - she hand stitches everything.”
For ‘Silk Road’ Kay George has created a new line of her distinctive textiles, this time using silk as her chosen medium. She completed the pieces over the last month or so after returning from Indonesia where she was attending her son’s wedding. George emphasised however that her inspiration was not drawn from her time abroad, but rather from her home here in Rarotonga. She cited the Punanganui markets as her inspiration for one vibrant piece - a wall hanging - entitled Ladies at the Market. “When you stand and you look down on the markets all you see is a sea of colour.” The pieces in the exhibition include a number of lengths of hand painted silk, hand painted silk garments, hand painted silk scarves and silk pareu. The colours featured in her latest collection of textiles are a feast for the eyes and each length of fabric is individually finished using a combination of one or more techniques of hand-painting, screen printing and silk dying. “Everyone was blown away to realise that I’d hand painted it all. They don’t realise what’s involved - it’s very time consuming [working with] silk.” Some of George’s pieces featured also reference artwork she was doing when she first arrived on the island, some 25 years ago, but that she has chosen to rework.
George was impressed with the number of people who turned out for the exhibition preview on Saturday. The exhibition itself runs until Saturday 12 November and George’s schedule looks full with the annual Vaka Eiva exhibition showing directly after that. However it is her enthusiasm for the work exhibited in The Art Studio that inspires her to continue. “What we try to do is show something different, all the time.” The Art Studio is located on the main road in Akaoa, Arorangi. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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