Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art in Auckland

Recently I flew to New Zealand to visit friends and family and network with the NZ children's book industry. Below is a little sketch I did on the plane.

Auckland is my home town. This is where I first drove my car to uni, had my first date at the movies and made the friends I have for life. Whenever I go back, I like to visit some of my old haunts. I thought I'd share with you three of my favourite historic buildings in downtown Auckland.

The Civic Theatre. Built in 1929, when I was a kid it was a movie theatre and the queue would stretch up the hill and around the corner. I used to love looking at the twinkling stars on the blue night sky ceiling. After a complete restoration in 2000 it is now a live theatre venue. The inside is so beautiful it is heritage listed and people often miss part of a performance because they're too busy staring at the ceiling. It is internationally significant as the largest surviving atmospheric cinema in Australasia (and also one of the only seven of its style remaining in the world) in which lights and design were used to convey an impression of being seated in an outdoor auditorium at night.  

Top left of the photo is the Town Hall tower - where I graduated from uni many years ago.

Smith and Caughey's Department Store. A classic art deco purpose built store which has retained its character, charm, personal service and extensive range of quality goods. They've been in business since 1880, so they must be doing something right. It was about 1979 that I had my first 'application of make-up' lesson together with my besties in one of the rooms upstairs. We laughed so hard as we walked down Queen St later - none of us looked like our normal selves. 

This is the Auckland Art Gallery - Toi O Tamaki. Opened in 1888, it is New Zealand's oldest established and largest public art gallery. I used to walk past it every morning up the hill on the way to uni. And I always wished I could just stop and immerse myself in the art for the rest of the day.

So that's what I did on one of the days while I was visiting. Above is the new modern section and new front entrance of the Art Gallery which opened late this year. It joins the old building on the right and is just perfect!

Don't you love the vaulted wooden ceiling?

The floral installation above was a gift from the artist. Made from a type of parachute fabric, the petals open close on their own - just gorgeous and huge.

The interior of the old art gallery is breathtaking and beautifully restored.

A highlight of any visit are the many Goldies in the gallery's collection. Charles Goldie was a New Zealand painter well known for his portraits of Maori dignitaries.

Lunch with friends at the gallery. Life is good!

Even if it's raining outside.

A few days later I catch up for lunch with my cousin, Tania Sunde, who is also an Auckland artist. (It runs in the family). That's Tania below in the cafe which recently purchased her triptych in acrylics above the fireplace. It's just fabulous.


DimbutNice said...

We saw some of these places whilst visiting your fair city many moons ago now Angela. Loved it and being grotty yachties, loved the sailing aspects of it too. But the best pic of all in this post was your opening one...your drawings are gorgeous.

Angela Sunde. said...

Thank you, Dimity. I started off with good intentions of drawing every day. :)