Our presently-closed city Art Gallery has taken its exhibition out doors in Worcester Boulevard. It’s worth an hour or so to take in the well-assembled collection showing what our city was like, in history, along with photographs of earthquake wrecked once-familiar views. I visited on a week day which made it somewhat poignant with the sounds of nearby demolition machinery all too audible. Also a tad poignant is the exhibition stretching back along the tram track from the Art Gallery, stop three. I was interested to see the Art Gallery shop, across the boulevard, had re-opened.
Called Reconstruction: Conversations on a City, the exhibition features 56 large panels including, amongst other images, copies of several art gallery works. I enjoyed a John Gibb work of Lyttelton Harbour. So murky is the air from early steam ships, local women complained their washing never looked clean. I also eyeballed a work, Reflections by William Dunning, showing a 1979 impression of Cathedral Square. This one very much reminded me of my more youthful years in Christchurch. I remembered the style of Christchurch Metro buses and the once-familiar Regent Theatre dome.
A compelling visual impression of our city’s development along with what was destroyed by seismic events, I was left wondering what our future will look like. I admit to feeling worried what will emerge. Will we run with the idea of a creative, sustainable, people-friendly city? And what did those Napier people think during the 1930s when their earthquake-ravaged city was to re-emerge in a new-fangled Art Deco style? Get along and have a look.
The exhibition, aimed at getting people back to the CBD, will close on September 16.