After three days of stunning scenery that may never been matched in terms of what I will get to see in my life, rare flora and fauna, often indigenous to New Zealand, fresh air that awakens the soul, and the feeling of solitude that the surroundings gave, I needed the buzz and vibe of a city, with some semblance of culture. Last night’s pub certainly went some way towards meeting it, and today I went to Invercargill’s Sothland Museum and Art Gallery to stimulate the mind. (Nihootetaniwha – the triangle of knowledge).
I was struck by the artwork of Nigel Brown, who has used his travels to develop his experiences and thoughts into art into a style that is a cross of pop-art, Munch and Gauguin – (I know that they have very different styles.) Art and crafts in New Zealand is huge, many Art Galleries, both commercial and connected to public facilities. It would hard not to be inspired as an artist, by the variety of landscapes – after the museum, we travelled to Balclutha, going through coastal scenery, featuring ‘a Portland Bill’ like peninsula and bay, estuaries, hills and coastline like North Devon, and rain forest, before entering pastureland. We saw a fossilised forest, the southern most point of New Zealand (although I’m not sure what that makes Bluff).
Nigel travelled extensively, experiencing a variety of cultures. His exhibition was introduced by his own quotation. ‘Travel can be described as a ‘kind of invasion of the mind’ by outside influences. I come home with a mind shifted in subtle ways. And from one journey to the next, you are no longer the same.’
After South Africa, I saw the influence of Mandela’s foregiveness and hope for the future, in Chicago, I saw a culture bound by music and art, but also that capitalism doesn’t mean that politeness and respect is lost. I’m not sure what I have learnt so far, from New Zealand, and how different I will be when I come back.
It rained all afternoon, and apparently this morning – although not in the museum, so I chose an Anne Peebles song, ‘I can’t stand the rain.’