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The Chocolate Factory in Auckland’s CBD

The Chocolate Factory in Auckland’s CBD

The resemblance between the world-famous Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and the Wallace Trust Gallery in Auckland may not be immediately obvious, but art-hungry gallery visitors will shortly agree they have something in common. An intense odour of microwaved chocolate bars is an ingredient in an exciting project a young Auckland artist Ryuzo Nishida has recently embarked up on.

Nishida is a fourth-year student at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design and he will be working in the Wallace Trust Gallery from 3 – 7 August as a part of the Adam Portraiture Exhibition 2004. The gallery visitors will have an opportunity to observe the chocolate cat portrait being created as well as 40 selected painted portraits of New Zealanders.

Having completed a portrait of the Speaker of Parliament in painted stones, Nishida has decided his next subject will be his lost pussy cat. “I like using materials that are kind of linked with the subject,” Nishida said. “And because I liked my cat and I like chocolate, I chose it as a medium.”

Influenced by a controversial London artist Damien Hirst, Nishida’s chocolate cat will be the first of his Ant-I-Pop series. “In my work, I’m trying to challenge the viewer to confront complex issues around sex, violence, consumerism, mass media and the family,” Nishida said.

Ryuzo belongs to a cluster of young Asian Aucklanders who have prompted a gradual transformation of the New Zealand art scene. They have created a trendy and unique subculture, a hybrid of traditional Asian and New Zealand motives.

“Ryuzo’s work expresses a cultural collision, the feeling of being neither inside, nor outside,” Noel Ivanoff, Ryuzo’s tutor and the Head of Fine Arts at the Whitecliffe College said.

Adam Portraiture Exhibition 2004 is a biennial event organised by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. The 40 best portraits were selected for an exhibition in the Wallace Trust Gallery in Auckland from 3 – 21 August. 18 of these were created by Auckland artists.

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