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Painted ukuleles

Jackie Gray. Photo: John Borren.

Incubator Creative Hub director Simone Anderson is delighted by the public response to their latest exhibition, with over 80 painted ukuleles on display during March at the Historic Village.

“We have a ukulele group that meets every Monday,” says Simone. “I saw this thing on Instagram for these blank ukuleles for sale.

“I went and researched it, and then bought the whole lot in bulk. We put out a registration of interest to the public, because I had to get people to commit before I ordered them. I expected we might get 40 or 50 people interested, but we had to order 85 ukuleles.”

The Incubator Creative Hub team put out the call for registrations of interest in December, allowing two months for the artists to complete their designs.

Each ukulele arrived as a kit, with the body, neck and pegs as separate parts. As part of the terms and conditions, all of the ukuleles had to be assembled, with particular attention paid to the neck, making sure it was glued well to the body. They then had to be painted or transformed into an art work.

“The artists came and took their ukuleles away,” says Simone. “They came back to be part of a show called The Art of Ukulele, which opened at The Incubator Gallery on Saturday, February 16.”

The artists returned their ukuleles on February 13 and Simone and her team started installing the exhibition the next day.

Glen Reid

Alongside the exhibition, The People’s gallery – Toi ka rere is showing the Antimatter 2019 exhibition, which opened the same day and runs until March 13. It has been running for the past four years, and attracts imaginative entries made from recycled and upcycled materials, representing an environmental statement.

The exhibition aligns with and celebrates New Zealand’s sustainable backyards month, held every March.

‘Tui’ by Harley Moore at the Antimatter 2019 exhibition

The Bay of Plenty Ukulele Orchestra had its inaugural meeting on September 17, 2018, and has already performed at Christmas at Our Place alongside the Modern Maori Quartet and Ria Hall. The painted ukulele exhibition will help highlight this group and attract more players.

“We’re also collecting disused and neglected ukuleles that will be much loved for community workshops at The Jam Factory,” says Simone. “We’d love people to bring them out of their kids’ cupboards and dusty corners and let them see some action!”

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