Gold and Oil, The Legacy and Menace of the Niagara
Opens Thursday 8 February at 6pm, then until Wednesday 21 February
Mangawhai Artists Gallery, 45 Moir St, Mangawhai Village
Nicola Everett’s exhibition is a mix of storytelling, installation and powerful images showing the history and sounding the alarm about oil from RMS Niagara leaking and clogging up the Upper Hauraki Gulf.
Entering the exhibition you will see Nicola’s creative response to what the Niagara oil could do.
‘It is being ignored and we are waiting until a catastrophe happens – this is a disaster we can prevent!’.
‘Loving our coastline as we do, I want to tell the story of the Niagara – I want people to know what is lying on our seabed ready to implode. I hope people will question what we value today. In 1940 they wanted the gold. Today we treasure our sea and all that lives in it from the smallest micro organisms to our fish, sea plants and birds. Today our priority is saving what we have, not letting it be destroyed and ensuring the sustainability of our environment’
Equidistant from the Mokohinau and Hen and Chicken Islands there is an ignored menace (see map below). Once laden with gold and still oil laden, the wreck of the Niagara lies where it was sunk by a Second World War mine in 1940. The fuel tanks are rusting and decaying after eight decades under water. With her art work, Nicola's solo exhibition is alerting locals and visitors to this threat.
The first gallery space presents Nicola’s interpretation of the threat in various media.
The installation has ceramics, oil, rust, bitumen, birds and plants – all illustrating the impact of oil in our ocean and contrasting that with clean, uncorrupted marine well being.
In the second gallery space Nicola exhibits a series of woodblock and collagraphic prints augmented with hand painting, gold leaf and collage. The prints illustrate intriguing aspects of the history of the Niagara.
Councillor Mike Lee, Waitemata and Huaraki Gulf, Auckland, spoke at the exhibition; 'I was impressed at the turnout and the depth of concern in Mangawhai about the threat the oil from the wreck poses. I guess it’s not surprising because the wreck of the Niagara lies only about 20 nautical miles away. Nicola Everett’s exhibition is a virtuoso display of multi-disciplinary art. ‘Gold and Oil’ presents the beauty of the natural world she is clearly close to, with the unseen menace that threatens it. The work leaves no doubt that the artist is also driven by a deep sense of looming disaster. This is a woman who has worked so hard to ‘hammer out a warning’, to her community and to the government. Unfortunately the silence from Wellington remains deafening.’
Photo: Nicola with Keith Gordon. Copies of 'Deep Water Gold' by Keith Gordon are available at the Mangawhai Artists Gallery, Keith is donating the proceeds to MAI.
Deep Water Gold - The Story of RMS Niagara - the Quest for New Zealand's Greatest Shipwreck Treasure, by Keith Gordon.