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  • Writer's pictureAnna Crichton

Hastings City Art Gallery: Ragpicker at 4am - A travelling exhibition

An exhibition at The Hastings City Art Gallery, NZ 14 March – 21 June 2020 (ended up open only 29 days due to a Covid19 lockdown)

Visitor feedback from the Hastings City Art Gallery:

“Visited India recently, could relate to the challenging themes involved in the artworks. Recently came back from Europe tour and couldn't access some countries. Thought this was a powerful exhibition”

“Interesting how the works are so lovely and delicate, yet the stories are so sad and difficult to read. Almost paradoxical”

“makes me want to go and visit India”

“Do walk out feeling moved - but it’s a good reminder of what is happening in the world, especially for women”

“Loved the captions for the art works, short and concise, powerful in there simplicity” “Symbolism of bead work is marvellous” “Love the bead work, so shiny” (this came from a person living with dementia)

“ I love the way Anna abstractly interprets these hard stories”

“wish I was a fly on the wall in India watching Anna negotiate for canvas with the rickshaw drivers”

“ I want those wood carvings on my wall”

Art as social commentary is a feature of Anna Crichton’s work and Ragpicker at 4am is an invitation to reflect on Crichton’s response to social issues in rural India. Featuring hand-stitched embroideries, glass beading and wood block printed fabrics, this exhibition is sure to stimulate reflection and discussion.

Working closely with local craftspeople through curious and patient translators, together with Google Translate, Anna provided the embroiderers with detailed designs and thread direction overlays. Carefully following Anna’s designs, the embroideries were hand-stitched onto hand-loomed cotton and silk cloth, and then sewn onto street-worn canvas backings - formerly pedal rickshaw canopies that Anna bought from their bewildered and amused drivers.

A multi-award winning illustrator and cartoonist, Auckland-based Anna Crichton has turned to new media in this response to the struggles and hardships of India’s rural communities and in particular the impact on women.

The artworks are the creative output of Crichton’s three month 2018 artist residency in Varanasi and a more recent wood block carving and printing project in Ahmedabad, India. Both adventures were a creative response to raw and sometimes confronting stories.

Anna wished to acknowledge and thank The James Wallace Foundation and The Asia New Zealand Foundation for their generous support in helping to fund her residency in Varanasi.


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