• By enrichplus
  • March 28, 2022

Enrich artists bring Van Gogh alive

Stevie Cook with her painting of Vincent Van Gogh.

A visit to the Van Gogh Alive exhibition in Auckland last year inspired several Te Awamutu artists to paint their impressions of the trip.

The works by artists from Enrich+’s Art Centre and Gallery are being digitally projected in the Te Awamutu Museum Front Porch Gallery from March 30 until April 19 as part of the Kaleidoscope of Colour exhibition.

One of the museum’s goals is to support art access for the disabled community and so offering Enrich+ free space and a public exhibition was a way to achieve this.

The free exhibition will also raise awareness of autism and celebrate Autism Awareness Month.

The artists attended Van Gogh Alive, featuring the work of Vincent Van Gogh, at Spark Arena in Parnell in May last year.

Julie Tate, Stevie Cook, Caitlin Thomas, Kathleen Bayer, Willy Bardoul and Peter Crawford travelled with tutor and well-known local artist Teresa Siemonek and support person Kim Potroz who facilitates the craft side of the art centre.

Stevie Cook said she could hear birds chirping around her when she entered the arena.

“It felt like I was in the art myself.

“I like how all of his art had reflected off the floors, like how the art had reflected through me, like how I got lost through the art.”

Her highlight was the Sunflower Room where she felt like a sunflower herself.

Caitlin Thomas

Caitlin Thomas said she took so many photos of the “fantastic paintings” that her phone went flat.

“I enjoyed myself, I loved everything.”

Julie Tate said the show was “really amazing” while Kathleen Bayer loved the beautiful picture of daisies on the wall.

Willy Bardoul went into the life-sized representation of Van Gogh’s bedroom, one of his most famous pieces of work, with Julie and painted it later.

Julie Tate

“The picture is very well coloured,” he said.

Peter Crawford said the trip was “so perfect”.

“I really enjoyed all the bright colours, some of the pictures were moving around on the walls.”

Teresa said Van Gogh Alive really inspired the Enrich+ artists.

She tutors 25 artists at Enrich+ and their work goes on display every year.

Peter Crawford

Bringing art to the public eye is an important aspect of what Teresa does and collaborating with the museum is an important part of that.

“We’ve had a lot of support from Henriata Nicholas and the team at the museum.”

Henriata is Te Awamutu Museum’s exhibitions coordinator.

“We’re proud and honoured to collaborate with Enrich+ service facilitators to bring the amazing creative talents of their artists into the public domain,” she said.

Willy Bardoul

“Their work is a multi sensory experience.  We are projecting the artists, their story of inspiration for their work and the art, to continue that idea around experiencing art in a different format.”

Curating art in this way in a projected form is a first for the museum and a change from the usual artwork on display.

Enrich+, was founded in Te Awamutu in 1990 as Gracelands.

Enrich provides meaningful and unique support programmes for people of all ages to develop the skills and abilities they need to gain independence while working with their whānau and community to enhance support networks.

Kathleen Bayer

Its services aim to give people with disabilities, and those living with autism or neurodiversity the tools they require to live a life like any other.

The Art Centre and Gallery is part of Enrich+’s Supported Activities programme.