Astonishing and Alarming! Mangawhai locals are moved by the powerful art and story of ‘Gold and Oil’
‘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 must be saving what we have, not letting it be destroyed.’ Nicola Everett Artist.
Mangawhai Artists Gallery has been a buzz of activity as local Mangawhai people visited the ‘Gold and Oil’ exhibition. People told their friends to go. Facebook messages urged ‘If you haven't been to the current exhibition at the gallery in Mangawhai Village, I'd like to recommend that you do so...!!! Even if 'art' is not your thing, it will blow your mind!!’
Strong reaction came as people studied and enjoyed the art on display and understood the creative way Nicola tells the story of the Niagara. Paintings, multi-faceted prints, ceramics and bitumen installation; astonishing, beautiful and disturbing, amazing art with a powerful message. Belinda Vernon of Mangawhai and Deputy Chair of Maritime NZ, congratulated Nicola on, ‘your thought provoking and dare I say it confronting exhibition. Art is a powerful communicator – it speaks in a way words cannot! Your art gets the message through!’
Visitors to the exhibition were shocked and dismayed to learn about the Niagara with oil sitting in corroding tanks and that no action is being taken to prevent damage to our sea and coast.
Nicola Everett, the artist responsible for the exhibition has been overwhelmed by the reaction of people visiting her exhibition. ‘I wanted to increase awareness, and this has happened, people cannot believe this danger sits so closely to our shore. Mangawhai locals and visitors from Auckland and Northland have been astonished and in many cases, shocked to learn a huge amount of oil is still on board the wreck of the Niagara. Shoals of fish currently live happily in the Hauraki Gulf and many make their home in the waters around the wreck of the Niagara unaware the oil tanks are corroding. I want the New Zealand Government to identify options to safely remove the oil and regularly monitor the wreck of the RMS Niagara rather than rely on contingency plans for when oil leaks. My exhibition is a creative response to what the Niagara oil could do.’
Councillor Mike Lee. Waitemata and Gulf of Auckland, visited the exhibition and he said; '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 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 of warning’, to her community and to the government. Unfortunately the silence from Wellington remains deafening.’
After viewing the art work, people have been writing letters to local MPs and the Minister of Transport. As Minister for Transport, Phil Twyford has responsibility for Maritime NZ who has oversight of the Niagara. Nicola has written to all MPs and the Board of Maritime NZ to ask the New Zealand Government to identify options for the safe removal of the oil and to regularly monitor the wreck of the RMS Niagara rather than rely on contingency plans for when oil leaks.
Josie Gritten Photography www.josiegrittenphotography.com 021 234 0519