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High fuel prices to be highlighted in exhibition

Media release – July 22, 2008

High fuel prices and New Zealand law restrictions to be highlighted in art exhibition

A south Auckland artist is using a major art exhibition to highlight high fuel prices and New Zealand law restrictions.

Fulltime Clark’s Beach painter Helen Parsons is staging a large solo exhibition at the Blue Orange Gallery in Tuakau later this year.

A number of paintings reflect on the change in laws for public land.

``In many places we can no longer light bonfires on the beach or set up a fire to heat the billy or cook sausages,’’ Parsons said today.

``One of my works points to the fact we can’t have a beer or wine on the beach or in public places. Another painting is about the rising prices for fuel - may have to step back in time eventually and use Shank's pony as the average person will not be able to afford to run a car. It’s sad the way some things are changing.’’

Parsons is one of the rising stars in New Zealand art and has had some experiences in life that has given her a passion for her art. She still paints today at the family kitchen table.

She was born with a congenital cardiac defect – two holes in her heart; had open heart surgery to repair them when she was nine and had a pacemaker inserted when she was 35.

After earning a degree majoring in zoology and maths, she is now married with four children, including identical twins, and is expressing her ideas and feelings in her paintings.

She has sought to highlight conservation issues regarding New Zealand’s endangered native birds and also problems facing society today.

``Development and progress is important in all areas of life - today's society gets caught up within the "I Want it and I want it now" scenario. Fast food, quick fixes, virtual realities, the need to have more, bigger, better means success,’’ she says.

``Life is so fast paced; we are bombarded from all angles by consumerist greed. The simple things are getting left behind or forgotten. Eating healthily, exercising, enjoying our beautiful scenery, nurturing our children, relaxing - smelling the roses. The important things in life all too often get pushed to the bottom of the "to do" list and can become "too hard" because we are “too busy” being successful.’’

Parsons makes a parallel – often with a twist of humour - between the cause of societal problems and behavioural aspects of critically endangered native animals. The plight of threatened native species also highlights the affects of people’s actions in society.

Her month-long solo exhibition opens at the Blue Orange Contemporary NZ Art Gallery in Tuakau on November 1.


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