Exhibition to celebrate winter sky



The spectacle of the winter sky will feature in an exhibition at Alexandra’s Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery.

Winterstellar is a celebration of Matariki — the Maori new year —and the night skies of Central Otago.

The concept for the exhibition was devised by Andy Davey, of Alexandra.
He was inspired by a talk last year on astrophotography presented by Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin.
‘‘He’s got a big interest in night skies as well — I’ve often been inspired by his work.’’

Artists from across the region will feature, including Victoria Bowman, of Omakau, Simon Williams, of Queenstown, Paul Le Comte, of Dunedin, Cory Marshall, of Wanaka, and Paul Bishop, of Naseby.
There were so many talented photographers in the region, in particular night-sky photography, Mr Davey said.
‘‘Putting this together I feel like I’ve been asked to pick the All Blacks, and I am just a bang-average rugby player.’’

Davey will contribute a series of night photographs he took during the lockdown.
The lockdown was special because the lights on Alexandra’s hillside clock were turned off, enabling some scenes to be taken that would not be possible otherwise, he said.

One of the stars of the show would be photography created by Stephen Patience, of Cromwell. He specialised in motion control time-lapse photography, showing the movements of stars and planets over the night sky, Mr Davey said.
‘‘He has got some awesome stuff from the top of the mountains from dusk till dawn.’’
This would be displayed on a high quality 4K screen — ‘‘it is just a stunning effect’’.

The aim was for this to become a regular annual event, Mr Davey said.
He began discussions about having more than an exhibition before the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘‘As it evolved we got lots of offers of doing things beyond the exhibition such as workshops on night photography.’’
Other discussions included night bike tours and a ‘‘winterstellar festival’’ that could incorporate more activities.

But as the restrictions of the pandemic progressed it was decided to simplify to just the exhibition this year, and revisit further plans for next year.
‘‘We are just concentrating on the exhibition part, but we also want to start spreading the seed and the idea of building up something for Alexandra next year.’’
The exhibition runs from July 3 until August 30 at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery.

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