Art exhibition inspired by Otago gold rush

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A collection of artworks depicting the stories of miners in the gold rush will be on display in Wanaka this month.

The artworks by Wanaka artist Jane Kellahan will be exhibited at the Wanaka Fine Art Gallery from Saturday.

Kellahan’s exhibition, called Gold Rush, will feature a series of artworks and stories of miners during the gold rush era.

Among them was Gabriel Read, who was understood to have triggered New Zealand’s gold rush when he discovered the material in what is now known as Gabriels Gully.

“My objective is to present questions through my art about an exciting era of New Zealand history and how the spirit of the pioneering, rags-to-riches culture of early mining is reflected in contemporary New Zealand entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.

Capturing history . . . The gold rush era is the focus of Wanaka artist Jane Kellahan’s latest exhibition, which opens this weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“Gold Rush” features a collection of oil paintings, ceramic sculptures and jewellery.

Details such as shovels, dredges, sluice boxes, ladders, pipes and pans appear in her abstract paintings to help tell the stories.

She sometimes adds figures.

“A palette knife, brush and roller are my tools that allow me to paint freely and emotively, like I, too, am scraping and digging away at the surface of a canvas to find the treasures within.”

“Fine lines are cut into concrete paste, resembling old roads and magnificent deeply, dug caves.

“Hundreds of metres deep; thousands of hours worked.

“Twenty-four carat gold leaf is delicately added.”

“Gold Rush” will remain on display until Sunday, September 22.