New commissioned artworks by sculptor Paul Dibble and renowned painter Karl Maughan will soon find a home in a location with a difference in a project described as “visionary”.
Rawhiti Estate, a new BeGroup retirement village in Remuera, will feature the commissioned works alongside an additional 60 prints and lithographs by top New Zealand artists including Stanley Palmer, Michael Smither, Marilyn Webb and Dick Frizzell. These have been specially curated for a lightbox feature within the village by John Gow of Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland.
Mr Gow says he joined the “visionary” project because he believed there was a great opportunity to rethink how art exists in a retirement village setting.
“When we started discussing the spaces at Rawhiti Estate it became clear that this was an opportunity to do something I’ve never done before and use the village to showcase work from leading New Zealand artists,” says Mr Gow.
The commissioned Dibble sculpture is a 24-piece cast bronze geometric abstract work of New Zealand iconography, which includes a gold leaf kōwhai. Mr Gow describes it as an impact work that will be positioned within the atrium across three stories.
“The Karl Maughan piece is a four-panel classic garden work that stretches across the reception area at almost five metres long and just shy of two metres high,” says Mr Gow.
To support the project, Gow Langsford Gallery is also installing a 2.2-metre-high Paul Dibble free standing figure on loan.
The unique project is supported by the Be Art Trust, a charity established by the BeGroup which aims to bring creativity into the lives of older New Zealanders and create spaces they can be proud to call home.
As well as displaying great art, BeGroup CEO Guy Eady says Rawhiti Estate will also work to provide access to creative activities for its residents.
“There is growing recognition of art as a therapeutic tool in different settings and a significant body of research is available which shows the various ways art can benefit people as they age. This includes supporting emotional wellbeing, reducing stress levels and reducing feelings of loneliness, as well as providing direct benefits to cognitive abilities.”
Mr Eady says the team looked closely at this type of research while designing Rawhiti Estate because it ties into their philosophy of care, which aims to ensure dignity for Rawhiti residents.
“Our hope is that having high quality art will provide an environment that people can enjoy and take inspiration from. When coupled with providing access to meaningful creative activities, we believe it provides a unique point of difference in the care we provide for our residents.”
The new collection will be on show for the community at a special open weekend on 29 and 30 September, ahead of the village opening in mid-October.
Mr Gow says it is an inspired idea for a place like a retirement village.
“It’s a bold move and I think it’s a great development for the community to have a home for new art in the Remuera area. The residents get to enjoy them, and hopefully be moved to create their own works.
“But it also has a ripple effect. People become aware of art often through osmosis, so when their children or grandchildren come to visit they will get a visual education of New Zealand art without even realising, and that is a great benefit to the community,” he says.