Current Exhibitions



Nga Manu - the Birds  run until January 17, 2016

Kia Poipoia and Focus on Frances Hodgkins runs until 14 February

Previous Exhibitions 

Mahara Arts Review

Seven Artist’s Awards selected by guest curators Brian Wood and Lyndsay Knowles and have been generously supported by the following sponsors:
Open Award $1,000 by Sir Noel Robinson. Highly Commended $500 by John Mowbray. Student Award $250 by Barry Herbert. 3D Award $200 by Kapiti Signs. 2D Award $200 by Artel Gallery + Store
Special Merit Award $200 by Picture Perfect Framing. Peoples Choice Award $200 by Kapiti Coffee Company. Congratulations to the recipients of the following awards:

Overall: Kate Elder

Highly Commended: Frances Jill Studd

2D Award: Bryn Morgan

3D Award: Akiko Baggott

Special Merit : Sophia Toscano

Student Award: Harriet Wills

People's Choice: Tracey-Lea Morgan


Retrospective, Bob Bassant

A Winter Sampling, Frances Hodgkins & The Field Collection

new SPACE Natural Design, Helena Fierlinger

30 August - 27 September 


Mondrianland, mid 1980's. Bob Bassant 


Bob Bassant was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1927 and studied Art and Design at Rotterdam Academy of Visual Arts and Applied Science. In 1952 he emigrated to New Zealand with his wife Gré, and by 1959 was established in Wellington as a graphic designer and Art Director.


For twenty-five years Bob Bassant  then lectured in Visual Communication Design at the then-Wellington Polytechnic School of Design (now Massey University), until 1991. Bob was deeply involved with the Wellington art community also, and a Vice President Wellington Society of Watercolour Artists and Council Member of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. They retired to Kāpiti in 1998 and Bob became a key supporter and occasional curator of exhibitions for Mahara Gallery in its formative years.


His exhibition history spans more than 40 years and he was Group Art Director of the New Zealand Pavilion Expo ’69, Osaka, Japan, and Art Director and Co-Editor of New Zealand Crafts Quarterly magazine from 1985-1988. Bob was awarded a QEII Arts Council Grant for study and travel overseas in 1975.


Bob Bassant’s retrospective exhibition spans early paintings from his first decades in New Zealand, to recent work which achieved an elegant but relaxed form of abstract painting. He developed from a strongly design-influenced style into a looser and more expressive painter of the landscape of New Zealand, which he continued making until his death in December 2014. He applied a strong sense of colour to exploring his interests in classical themes, religious symbols, and intense political moments in New Zealand as well as European history.


Writer Peter Trim will speak about Bob Bassant’s life and work at the opening on Saturday 29 August at 5pm, and Gré Bassant will give a floortalk in the exhibition on Wednesday 9 September at 11am, all welcome.


Winter Sampling features three paintings by Frances Hodgkins, a Waikanae landscape by her sister Isabel Field, and a portrait of Isabel by Italian painter Girolamo Nerli, which have been loaned by the Field Collection Trust. Hodgkins became one of New Zealand’s best loved expatriate artists of the 20th century. The exhibition will also include a painting by Petrus van der Velden loaned by Avenal McKinnon. He was a Dutch painter who arrived in New Zealand in the 1890s and had a big influence on the development of New Zealand art.


Lichen IV, 2010. Helena Fierlinger 


Photographer Helena Fierlinger, showing in New SPACE at Mahara Gallery, has travelled a long way before arriving in Waikanae where she now lives. She says that ‘since I was born photography was a part of my life. I am a third generation photographer. From being my father’s handy child model, through art school, and even while shooting animation for Sesame Street, there were always cameras in my life’.

Helena Fierlinger was born in Prague, Czech Republic, and studied graphic arts before escaping the communist country in 1967. She worked first as a film camera operator in Munich then emigrated to the USA in 1968, where she established an animation studio in Philadelphia and produced films for children’s television, including Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, MTV and others.


She also worked on several documentaries shot in Prague after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in 1990 for The Charter 77 Foundation, New York, arranging exchange programs between USA and Czech Republic and Slovakia.


In 1996 she established a photo studio in Brooklyn, New York, making family portraits and doing work for many Brooklyn cultural institutions. For several years she photographed plants, seasons, and events at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for books and calendars published by the Garden.


In 2003 Helena followed her children to New Zealand and has worked here for the film industry and also photographing other artist’s work for publication, including John Drawbridge (2008), and Art & About (2015), the second edition of a guide to public art in Wellington, now available at Mahara Gallery.


Helena’s personal work ‘represents my veneration of nature and its creations of beauty. While I am photographing nature, I feel I don’t ever have enough collected in the camera. I feel like a gluttonous thief who collects imprints of beauty to play with and to share with only a small group of others who appreciate the view’.  She has exhibited in numerous group shows, and this is her first solo show.


Helena Fierlinger will give a floortalk in her exhibition at 11am on Wednesday 16 September, all welcome.


Shimmer moon, Prakash Patel 

19 July – 23 August

IMAGE: Astronaut by Prakash Patel (detail), 'Shimmer Moon' exhibition.

Prakash Patel has been exploring the unique paintings of the Warli, a tribal group living in the State of Gujarat, India, near where his family’s ancestral origins. His grandfather emigrated to New Zealand in 1924 and his parents arrived in New Zealand in the 1950s. 

When visiting his parent’s village in 2006 he noticed that the local workers had interesting tattoos with stick figures and strange symbols decorating their bodies. The Warli are animists who worship trees, animals and all things in nature. The paintings on the walls of their mud houses depict their daily life of planting and harvesting of rice and other crops, ceremonies, monsoon rains, hunting and fishing. 


Patel often adorns his canvases with intuitively-made symbols and markings and he drew a connection with the Warli’s work. During this last visit he met several  Warli painters who demonstrated their process to him, and found he could immediately relate to its organic and rhythmic application. 


Patel observed that ‘The Warli people have a deep respect for and understanding of nature and their place in it’. For him it has always been a curious observation that people living in close-knit communities appear to be the happiest. 


This new body of work, Shimmer Moon, is based on Patel’s own intuitive response to the world he lives in, and revels in the tremulous dance between black, light and colour. As Sarjeant Gallery curator Greg Donson wrote in 2007, ‘Existing in cultural limbo has at times left Patel feeling as though he belonged neither in India nor Whanganui. It has been through painting that he has been able to chart these territories of the in-between’. 

In the eight years since that was written, Prakash Patel has confirmed his own status as a considerable painter of the inner / outer landscapes of the mind, dancing fluently between a sophisticated formalism and an exploration of the edges 
of conscious thought, where matter, memory, symbolism, rich visual detail, shifts in scale and description deliciously merge in his canvases . 


Prakash Patel was born and raised in Whanganui, and received a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design at Hawke’s Bay Polytechnic in 1993. He remains Whanganui-based, has won several awards in the annual Sarjeant Arts Review, and exhibits in dealer and public galleries nationally. He has made two trips to his parent’s birthplace in the past decade. The first was in 2006 when he held an artist’s residency at the Sanskriti Kendra Campus supported by Creative New Zealand and the Asia New Zealand Foundation. He made his second journey in November 2014, 
also supported by Creative New Zealand. 




Legacy - Whakareretanga, JoAnna Mere

19 July – 23 August

IMAGE: Hikoi The Long Road. Photo credit: Elise Dunn

‘I believe we are all tāngāta whenua/people of the land, 
joined by our love for our land if not by blood.’

JoAnna Mere (Ngāti Porou) is an environmental jeweller who works primarily in found metal from the marine and nature reserves of Kāpiti where she now lives. She draws on contemporary and traditional concepts and techniques to create three dimensional forms that explore the visceral and spiritual connections be