Brett walked from the top of Cuba mall past the gushing cups down to the other end where a street poster artist was spray painting landscapes on cardboard.
While standing there, watching, smelling the fumes, a woman leaned towards him, nudging his left shoulder. Her long luxuriant red hair and voice brushed against his face. He felt a twinge.
‘Great, eh?’ She said.
He turned: ‘Yeah, that bloke makes a negative space look like shining wings. I see it but still can’t believe it. Definitely knows what he’s doing.’
She put her shades on top of her head. ‘Makes a positive out of a negative. An optical illusion. You wanna see a nocturne?’
She looked familiar, but he couldn’t quite place her. ‘Sort of a topical solution; flight in light. You mean listen to a Nocturne by Chopin?” he asked.
‘Ha Ha, Noooooooo.’ She smirked.
‘Oh, of course, Rembrandt? His Nocturne is here? At Te Papa?’ Brett wondered out loud.
‘You’re either joking or stupid.’ She laughed. ‘Sorry. Where have you been? Nocturne for US it usually means painting AT night. When critics aren’t around.’
‘Like gendarmes, for example.’ He said.
‘Right, Come on, I’ll show you one from last night, if it’s still there. Over on the waterfront.’
They dodged buses, taxis, bicycles and a drooling shaggy dog full of dreads. As they crossed the pedestrian bridge, he introduced himself: ‘I’m Brett.’’
‘I know. I’m Ani. We might see my baby sister on the waterfront.’ She didn’t explain how she knew Brett.
Puzzled, nevertheless he asked: ‘Who did the painting we’re going to see?
He signs MM for Mad Marauder. Only a few people know him. The graffiti police would like to speak to him, they don’t know about a new wall ‘til it’s posted online. There’s no location. You have to recognize the background.’ Ani said.
Reaching the waterfront, Ani scanned the area for her sister. ‘There she is!’ She began waving to someone in the distance, off to their right.
Brett noticed coming towards them a woman with curly red hair in a wheelchair. Wearing a beret. Finally Ani and the woman met and hugged each other.
‘Brett, this is my twin sister, Aroha. Aroha this is Brett.’
‘I know him.’ She told Ani,’ taking offer her glove. They shook hands, said ‘Hi.’
‘You look too old to be a baby sister. Brett said, enjoying her touch.
‘Yep, that’s me. I was born the day after Ani.’ Her bright green eyes shimmered.
‘I was born at 11:56 2 seconds pm, Thursday 9 October…” began Ani.
‘And I was born at 12:11. 19 seconds am Friday 10 October’ Aroha finished the sentence.
Brett told Ani: ‘We met in the library researching stem cells for our papers.’ Not aware of how Ani knew his name.
‘That’s right; you got a book for me from the top shelf. How did your paper turn out? Aroha asked. She liked his smile, and there’s a little dimple.
‘Good. Except the professor said the best part was the title.” He grinned.
‘What was the title?’ Ani asked.
‘Escape From the Stem Cell Mirage. About advertising. What was yours?’ turning to Aroha.
‘Mine was ‘Stem Cells: Will the Innocent Walk Again?’ They might be able to regenerate spinal cord cells . One successful trial’s is using AST-OPC1. And there’s regenerative medicine in Ohio trials. A nanochip can be programmed with instructions, Tissue Nanotransfection, to create new tissue.’ Aroha was quietly excited.
The three headed towards a row of small sheds where small businesses operate. At one end of the shops was a broad concrete wall. On it was painted as background, a hand with three middle fingers extended upward, spread open and the little finger touching the thumb. Inside the palm was an incus, a daisy, and an ice cream cone with melting strawberry ice cream running down the nose of a teddy bear.
It took 18 spray cans of paint. The hand is the deaf sign for Wellington.’ Ani said.
They started to analyse the intersecting images, when suddenly a scream and sliding swisshhhing noise landed at their feet. A man lay on his stomach, face down, arms askew, not moving.
‘Quick’ said Aroha, ‘take my blanket and put it over him. Under him too.’
‘But you’ll get cold!’ said Brett
‘Do it!’ She began pulling the rug off her lap.
Ani, already placing him carefully the recovery position, checking for consciousness, bleeding and other injuries. He was breathing, but unconscious. External injuries included abrasions on his face, arms and legs.
‘Grab my coat out of the bag behind the chair. Make a pillow for him.’
Brett pulled out the coat, folded it and placed it beneath the convulsing man’s head.
Aroha talking to 111, saying ‘Ambulance,’ giving directions.
A man who saw the accident said the twenty something male was riding a skateboard fast, whistling, when it hit a raised part of the concrete, throwing him off the board.
‘I found his messenger bag on the ground.’ he said. Reaching inside, looking for an emergency contact name, he also felt several pill bottles. He pulled out papers. Handed one sheet to Aroha, ‘Looks like his name is Stephen here’s a phone number. I’ll go and direct the ambulance.’
‘Thanks,’ she said.
The man went towards the street with the leather bag. He waved St John down and pointed in the direction of the skateboarder.
On arrival, Ani told the ambulance crew what happened and the man’s name. Aroha rang the number on the notebook paper. She said: ‘I talked to a lady named Pauline. Told her the ambulance is taking Stephen to hospital. ’
The trio wandered around the waterfront – Buskers: a man putting rubber bands on his face, a clown on a unicycle juggling lemons kiwifruit and a package of Cadburys Melts; a senior citizen dancing with a rubber boa to the tune of a blaring Bolero boombox; a sketch artist. At the café they had drinks and shared a lamington. They decided to visit the hospital and see if Stephen was going to be okay.
Aroha’s van was nearby. As they approached the van, Aroha pressed buttons on her remote. The rear door on the van opened. A chair lift came out of the van, lowered to the ground. She maneuvered onto the lift. Another button and the lift rose. Inside, she moved to the steering wheel. The rear door closed. Ani got in the front seat, Brett in the back – a single narrow seat.
At the hospital they met Pauline. She said, ‘Thank you very very much. Stephen will be all right in a week or so. His injuries were not too bad but he had other medical problems that were exacerbated by the accident. They didn’t have his medications. They were in his bag. Had to check his medical records.
‘Know what’s odd? Right after you rang, I had another call. Someone said a man crossing Lambton Quay was hit by a motorcycle. His shoulder bag was thrown against the windscreen of a passing car. The car stopped. Someone called 111. Someone else looked in the bag. There was my name and number. But I didn’t recognise their description of the injured man.’
Aroha went down the corridor to get a drink of water.
‘What happened to your sister?’ Asked Brett with quiet intensity, frowning.
‘Oh, it’s the usual story in a way. Girl in college, Napier, about to graduate, wags school, gets in car with boyfriend who’s been drinking. He drives into ditch, car flips, goes up the other side and hits a tree. He’s okay. She’s paralyzed. Aroha was still in a coma when we graduated. Eight years ago.’ Ani said.
‘That’s terrible. And the boyfriend?‘ Brett asked.
‘He went on his merry way. I think David joined the military so there was no trial.’
Brett thought of his cousin Dave who lived in Napier years ago. He graduated about the same time as Aroha and Ani. On some other occasion Brett may tell the sisters’ what happened to Dave. Where he is, where he will always be.
Lee Switzer: Lee is a regular contributor to ARTbop – photo essays, articles and poetry. Lee is multi-talented producing sought-after images of local artists and exhibitions. He has been an archival photographer around Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty for some years – the details of this body of work are below. You can find examples of Lee’s contributions in our archives
More photos by Lee Switzer at http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/en/tauranga_city_libraries_history/topics/show/2538-article-index-lee-switzer
What: Funkadelic Monks & Lounge Apes
Where: Totara St
When: Saturday, September 30th
and check out the uPflash in ARTbop alternative!
FRIENDS EXHIBITION: (These friends are a group of five Katikati based artists!)
The exhibition will be held at Harry Maddox Jewellers, 18 Main Road, Katikati, where there is a modern gallery space.
It will be open Saturday 30th Sept – Saturday 7th Oct
Sat & Sun 9:00 – 4:00, Mon – Fri 9:00 – 4:30
One of the artists will be available for a chat Sat 30th, Sun 1st, Thurs 5th, Fri 6th, and Sat 7th, from 10:00 – 4:00. We look forward to seeing you there.
Check out Birgitt’s article about what’s coming up in the NZ Mural Contest http://artbop.co.nz/nz-mural-contest-arts-festival-katikati/
AND WHEN YOU’RE IN THE BAY OF PLENTY MAKE sure you check out
2017 Rotorua Museum Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists Judges Selection of Works
Until: Friday, 6 October 2017
Venue: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts CentreTime: 10am – 4pm
Price: Free entry
Highlighting the exceptional talent of artists throughout the Bay of Plenty, this exhibition will showcase winners and finalists from the 2017 Rotorua Museum Art Awards.
Kereama Taepa has won out over 148 other entries from across the Bay of Plenty to take out the $10,000 Rotorua Museum Supreme Art Award with his work Bicultural Dialogue I. Judge Emma Bugden said what set this work apart for her was its simplicity; superbly executed, smart and funny which drew her in and held her attention.
“While the sculpture tackles big subjects—the complexity of cultural identity and the changing nature of craft in a digital era—it does it with cheek and humour. The legacy of tradition is seen through a contemporary lens, simultaneously throwing light on the past and the future.”
The $1,000 Toi Ohomai Innovation in Art Award went to Jill Fleming for her work Ascension and Cheyenne Rose was named as Friends of Rotorua Museum Emerging Artist for her work Legs.
The Rotorua Museum Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists 2017 displays these three award winning works alongside 45 specially selected entries at Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre until 6 October 2017.
While the exhibition is on display people can vote for their favourite artwork either in the gallery or via the Rotorua Museum Facebook page. This year the More FM People’s Choice Award will offer $500 to the artist whose work receives the most public votes in the gallery and $500 for the work with the most online votes by the end of the exhibition (6 October 2017).
Entry to the exhibition at Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre is free and will be open daily between 10am – 4pm from 9 September until 6 October 2017.
For the first time this year Rotorua Museum will be displaying works that were not chosen for the finalist exhibition in a Salon des Refusés. This exhibition will be hosted at Rotorua Library (1238 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua) from 14 September until 7 October 2017 (during normal library opening hours).
All artworks from both exhibitions will be on sale to the public throughout the exhibition period.
For further information please contact Rotorua Museum, phone 07 350 1814 or email email@example.com AND…