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Off The Wall: World of WearableArt Up Close

MEDIA RELEASE For immediate release 10 March 2014

Off The Wall: World of WearableArt Up Close

For the first time in well over a decade, a selection of the very best garments from the World of WearableArt are represented in a jaw-dropping’ once in a life time’ exhibition at Expressions Whirinaki. Opening this week, and here for one month only, Off the Wall is a tribute to the joy and energy of World of WearableArt where the designers see the body as a blank canvas on which they can develop any idea.


In Off the Wall you'll see over 30 costumes including anything from 20,664 plastic collar stays to twelve leather suitcases, from recycled wool sacks to wood, corrugated iron to kitchen utensils or taxidermied birds to sumptuous silks. All garments are displayed so that visitors can get really Up Close to them. In addition each garment will have a story about it which relates to the design, creativity and innovation required to produce wearable art to a successful competition standard. All costumes are on loan from the WOW historic collection which is housed at the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum in Nelson, New Zealand. Highlights of the exhibition include an illumination and illusion area where the magic of design, coupled with the magic of light, creates works of art in an encased tent with captivating optical illusions. In the ‘Sculpture of the Body’ section you will see extraordinary workmanship and attention to detail in sculptural costumes such as Lady of the Wood by David Walker from Alaska made completed out of wood. Costumes in the ‘South Pacific Inspired’ section celebrate the special life in New Zealand and the South Pacific with costumes which have receive inspiration from New Zealand’s rich Maori culture or other cultures of our South Pacific neighbours such as the sea, beach, landforms, plants, animals and weather each set against a unique backdrop of a New Zealand artist’s painting.


WOW Founder Suzie Moncrieff says “The Off the Wall exhibition is an exciting step for WOW, building on the success of the annual WOW Award Show. The goal of the exhibition is to engage with even greater New Zealand audiences by bringing WOW directly to their town or city.” Selecting the garments was a collaborative process between WOW® founder Suzie Moncrieff and Sir Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop. To make Off the Wall as interactive as possible the exhibition includes audio visual presentations which use the latest HP technology. People can view the large scale montage of WOW shows footage and can use the HP TouchSmart PCs to watch interviews with designers. The first experience that visitors have when they walk through is an audio visual entrance featuring a montage of previous WOW show footage. This footage is accompanied by the dramatic WOWR signature tune which has been created by music composer Jo Blankenburg and recorded in Prague.


Off the Wall has been on the road and finishes at Expressions after a two year journey. The exhibition has travelled through the regions in its own creatively sign written, purposebuilt 40 foot container thanks to the support of long time sponsor Mainfreight, who has transported WOW garments around New Zealand and the globe for almost a decade. Tour venues have included Canterbury Museum, Southland Museum, Otago Museum, Rotorua Museum, Waikato Museum and Te Manawa in Palmerston North.

Director of Expressions Leanne Wickham is thrilled to have Off the Wall at Expressions saying that “these Off the Wall works of art will amaze you – they are truly worldclass. Other venues around New Zealand have showcased the exhibition to their communities at an entry fee, whilst thanks to the generous support of Forsyth Barr, the Upper Hutt Cossie Club and Creative Communities Expressions is able to offer the exhibition at entry ‘by donation’ rate. It is a wonderful way to offer the magic of WOW to our local communities and to draw regional visitors into Upper Hutt, and we are anticipating a broad range of visitors over the one month we are hosting this exhibition. Everyone who sees the show will be blown away by the range of costumes on display and able to be viewed Up Close, so don’t miss out!”

In addition WOW has worked with Techlink to develop an online education resource to be used as inspiration for New Zealand teachers and students. The resource directly supports the technology curriculum and will help students develop skills in creativity and design using the WearableArt stories. Education Co-ordinator Rebecca Pubben will be running workshops for schools over the month long exhibition.

There is also a range of programmes available to the public throughout the month. A highlight is film showings of the 2013 World of Wearable Awards which will be shown in the Theatre at 3pm on the 13 and 20 April, at a ticket price of $10.

Award winning WOW designer and TV Presenter Fifi Colson is also offering an exclusive Wearable Art Workshop for children aged 8-14 year olds on Saturday 12 April, 1-3.30pm. Bookings essential and can be made by calling 527 2168. And a designer’s forum with local leaders in Wearable Arts will be held on Sunday 13 April at 1pm.


Off the Wall: World of WearableArt Up Close

22 March – 21 April: One month only

Entry by donation

Open 7 days, 9am – 4pm

Expressions Whirinaki Arts & Entertainment Centre

836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt

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