PARADISE Art Exhibition you nurture the seeds of creativity that grow in the cracks, they can blossom into a PARADISE.

After the Christchurch earthquake of 2011, the St Nicholas Orthodox Church community started a long-term project of rebuilding the premises of their church, as well as the spirit of their community. This resulted in a several-year job, which developed into a major art project based on traditional art forms such as fresco painting, iconography, and stained glass, mosaic and textile art.

The project planted seeds of creativity in the community and workshops, art classes, discussions and demonstrations encouraged members to explore and nurture their own artistic talents. Through this collaborative creativity — where the creative process was focused on a shared purpose —the cracks were restored and the spirit of the community blossomed.

The project also led to increased connectivity with the wider Christchurch community, as more and more people were attracted by the beauty and aesthetics of the artwork. This interest prompted the planning of a group exhibition in that welcomed the public to share in the results of the St Nicholas Orthodox Church project.

I was involved in the planning, design and execution of this exhibition. I completed two life-size angels, which are now permanently housed in the St Nicholas Orthodox Church on Brougham St in Christchurch, and a number of smaller mixed media works. As well as collaborating with other artists, I ran two weekend art workshops for the children of the community, and their PARADISE-themed creations helped to decorate the gallery. The exhibition was also a wonderful opportunity to showcase works by some of my talented young art students. It also featured works by Sergei Shatrov, an Australia-based Master Potter; and Fr Alexi, an Australia-based iconography expert, as well as other talented members of the church’s community.

The opening night was a beautiful event, with music, scrumptious food, and so many appreciative and supportive people! PARADISE was a celebration of creativity, collaboration, community and, importantly, connectivity. It was a colourful and inspiring exhibition for the whole family, and I’d like to thank the wider Christchurch community for offering so much love and support.

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