Artist Pia Hill was four when she held her first group exhibition as a curator, in her bedroom. The Bat Show raised hundreds of dollars towards these endangered species conservation.
Now, aged eight, Pia Hill’s second show as curator, Pūrākau has been held this weekend at Toi Auaha, a new inner city studio space for artists in central Ōtautahi. The exhibition featured work by a range of artists and tamariki.
“Without art,” Pia Hill says, “there wouldn’t be a way to tell stories. Because in the olden days they told stories with art. And books are art. Plants are art too. Anything can be art. Humans can be art, clothes can be art too. It’s really cool.”
Pūrākau was part of the Ōtautahi Year of the Arts Block Party, which saw cultural institutions get together to celebrate the Christchurch City Council initiative, with events in venues between the Ōtakaro Avon River and the Botanic Garden. It’s been part of the council’s wider arts strategy which has also seen the launch of Toi Ōtautahi, an 'online arts office' for culture in the city created in partnership between council, Creative New Zealand, Rātā Foundation, Mana Whenua, and Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
Pia Hill is no stranger to exhibitions - her mother is a busy artist herself, Turumeke Harrington. A Ngāi Tahu artist based in Pōneke Wellington, Harrington brings her twin background in industrial design and the arts into sculpture and installations that have seen her exhibit in major institutions across the rohe in recent years.
Brightly coloured and full of connected industrial parts, Harrington's work uses playfulness and humour as key components in getting people thinking, aligning her work with play spaces for the young.
Pia and Turumeke join Mark Amery on Culture 101 in Ōtautahi.