Whakatāne Community Board Gallery

Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatāne library and Exhibition Centre

Saturday 15 August – Sunday 13 September 2020

Visitors to Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi will soon be experiencing Nikki Slade Robinson’s work in a different way. The Ōpōtiki author/illustrator’s much-loved story books, long available as library books at Te Kōputu, will be explored and ‘exploded’ in new art exhibition “Book-marks”.      

The exhibition goes behind the scenes of six of Slade Robinson’s titles. Gallery visitors will find manuscripts samples, original character sketches, and prints of final artwork on the walls of the Whakatāne Community Board Gallery. There will also be a reading and listening nook for settling in and getting to know the stories.

Nikki draws inspiration for her books from the nature and people of the Bay of Plenty. I am an Artist will be a feature book; it celebrates the idea that anyone can make art and tell stories that connect with the world around them. The main character uses driftwood to make pictures in the sand, and exciting creatures collaged from different textures appear on the pages.“I created I am an Artist to emphasise that anyone can make artwork anywhere, anytime, with anything.”

As well as being a freeing, energising process, creating illustrations has been an important form of therapy for Nikki. “Two of the books featured in this exhibition were illustrated during my recent treatment for breast cancer,” says Slade Robinson. “The black humour of ‘Sharing with Wolf’ fitted well with the chemo journey, and ‘Hedgehog Heart’ was illustrated during radiotherapy, as the intensive part of the treatment journey was nearing the end. As a story about cherishing special people in your life it was perfectly timed. I feel exceptionally grateful to all my family and friends who supported me and continue to do so, but also to the wonderful medical team at Whakatane Hospital and the Cancer Centre here.”

Signed small prints of final artworks will be available to purchase at Te Kōputu’s front desk during the show, with all funds donated to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. Local businesses have come on board to support the cause. Mann Print have covered the digital print cost of the prints for sale, and Paper Plus Whakatāne will be donating 10% of Nikki Slade Robinson books sales during the exhibition to BCFNZ. “We’re really looking forward to sharing this exhibition with the public, and celebrating Nikki’s work” says Curator Exhibitions Business Support Amanda Perfect. ENDS

Additional information:

Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre
49 Esplanade Mall
Weekdays: 9am – 5pm
Saturdays: 10am – 2pm