When Luggate artist Sonia Kiki Jones unveiled “The Cabinet of Curiosities” installation room and exhibition, one of her friends joked it was like walking into her brain.
His words made her laugh.
“I said ‘Yeah, and I feel very exposed’,” she recalled.
Jones has worked from her home studio in Church Rd, Luggate for two years.
Previously, she worked from The Studio in Wanaka’s Frederick St for about 10 years.
“The Cabinet of Curiosities” is essentially an assembly of memories from growing up in the Cardrona Valley, her relationships, overseas travels, adventures in vintage shops and demolition yards and shows in New York.
It is the second room Jones has turned into an exhibition space. Her studio takes up all of the garage, and one day she hopes to open more of her house to installations.
But for now, she is excited about finishing a small room that pays homage to her journey through life so far.
Every item has a story, from the stuffed black raven with a bird’s-eye view near the ceiling, to the brass musical instruments converted into sources of light, and all the vintage clothing, photos and mirrors.
For a very small room, it packs a visual punch from the floor all the way to the ceiling.
“It is permanent, but always changing. I will be making more stuff for it and theming it. It is for art, everything from pre-loved and vintage clothing, assemblage, photography.”
Jones initially planned to launch the exhibition on August 18 last year but her plans were foiled.
“Lockdown was on the 17th, the open day wasn’t on the 18th and my birthday was on the 19th. It wasn’t like an exciting week.”
Eventually, she was able to invite the public in and the launch of her second room on April 14 went without a hitch.
The inspiration for “The Cabinet of Curiosities” came from a book given to her by a friend, Catherine Scollay, who died in 2016, and Catherine’s daughter Eva.
“The history started in 16th and 17th century Europe. People had rooms for collections, kind of like showrooms .. mostly of nature or fine art objects. Nothing was ever labelled. It is a bit like being inside someone’s mind,” she said.
“It is all me, making art. But I want to encourage people to do this. has become a real thing for me, and to look at what other people do in their own houses.
“Cabinets go through a wave of being fashionable. I don’t know where that wave is but I don’t really care, because it is what I love.”