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“Demeter” Posters in Demand

26 October 2005

“Demeter” Posters in Demand

The unusual and beautiful posters for “Demeter’s Dark Ride – An Attraction”, currently showing at BATS Theatre, are disappearing! Almost as soon as they are pinned to notice boards around Wellington, they are taken by appreciators of the stunning art work.

Producer Helen Varley Jamieson says she is neither surprised nor concerned by the disappearances. “It’s a beautiful work of art, completely unlike any other posters around town at the moment,” she says.

Oamaru artist Donna Demente was commissioned to created a poster that evoked the themes and aesthetic of “Demeter’s Dark Ride – An Attraction”, which is a processional theatre piece led by Madeline McNamara and created by a large troupe of Wellington artists.

“I was familiar with Donna’s work and knew that she had the right style for this production,” says Jamieson. “When we described the project to her, she was delighted to be involved.”

Well-known for her surreal masks and wearable art creations, Demente was the 1994 winner of the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards. Her work has been shown at Te Papa, Government House and in numerous galleries around the country. As well as running Oamaru’s Grainstore Gallery, Demente teaches mask-making and creates figures for street carnivals and parades.

Demente’s interest in 17th century alchemy and art history coincided with areas of Madeline McNamara’s extensive research for “Demeter’s Dark Ride – An Attraction”. In designing the poster, Demente drew on this artistic period as well as the carnival and fairground aesthetic which gives the production its external context.

The resulting poster – collaged and hand-painted, with swirling banners and intricate details – entices the viewer to come closer and spend time exploring the world of the poster; as does the Ride, taking audiences on a journey past a series of “attractions”, packed with thought-provoking details and layers of meaning and story.

Jamieson hopes that anyone who has helped themself to a poster will also be inspired to come and see the ride – but she warns that they must book. “There are only 28 places on each ride, and some rides are already booked out.” The season runs until 5 November, with three rides a night and additional 10pm rides on Fridays and Saturdays (no rides on Mondays).

And, for those who missed out, posters can be purchased at the theatre, for $10 laminated or $5 unlaminated.

Demeter's Dark Ride – An Attraction
conceived and directed by Madeline McNamara
created by Pandemonic Attractions
21 October – 5 November 2005 at BATS Theatre
Rides at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm + 10pm show on weekends. No show Monday.
Bookings: 802 4175


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