Local Focus: We Need To Talk About Living – Kelly Shrimpton art exhibition focuses on grief and loss – NZ Herald

Local Focus: We Need To Talk About Living - Kelly Shrimpton art exhibition focuses on grief and loss - NZ Herald
galerie jumelles
Art Galleries and Museums

Galerie Jumelles

Galerie Jumelles is an online Art Gallery founded by Sierra M. Bretz. Inspired by the French language and lifestyle, Sierra closed her business and her life in the US in 2021 to move to France to promote French Artists.

Read More »

In 2014, Rotorua abstract artist Kelly Shrimpton fell off her mountain bike and suffered a serious concussion. She couldn’t return to work, watch TV or listen to podcasts.

Fast forward to today and she’s hosting an exhibition at the Rotorua Arts Village that focuses on grief called We Need To Talk About Living.

“People have all kinds of grief in their life, and that’s not something we’re very good at talking about,” she said.

Creating art helps Kelly deal with the losses she has experienced in her life. Not just her injury but also losing her mum and her partner.

Kelly said the process of painting was fuelled by “letting out the frustration of not being able to do things I wanted to do and had always been able to do quite easily”.

Her current works are brought together through the use of a consistent colour palette.

“Blue has always been my favourite colour from when I was a little girl.

“A lot of my early work probably did tend towards blues, but these colours came about when I went to visit my dad, who has a bach at Lake Alexandrina, near Tekapo.

“The colour of Lake Tekapo, the blue sky and the gold is from the tussock. That’s how I originally started with that colour palette.”

When it comes to her process, Kelly said it’s about learning to just go with it.

“I use acrylic inks and a lot of the process is letting go of the idea of what I thought the painting was going to look like or what it was going to do.

“You can do so much and then you walk away and you let it dry. Sometimes the ink runs off the edge of the canvas. It seems, the more attached you are to what it’s doing when you turn your back, the more likely it is to flow off the canvas.

“There is a lot of learning to let go and then respond, which I guess is like life.”

Kelly draws inspiration from the natural world, something which she has found therapeutic while recovering from her injury.

“I’ve always appreciated nature, but being unable to do so many things, I had to find ways to cope and things to do. I’ve spent a lot of time stopping to look at the lake and a lot of that was resting my brain,” she said.

Kelly is a regular visitor to the arts village and supports other local artists.

“Breaking into the art scene would be almost impossible for someone like myself and the arts village has always been super encouraging and open.

Arts village director Kellez Mcmanus is a fan of Kelly’s work, not just for the way it looks, but for the story behind it.

“Some people might look at the artwork and then read Kelly’s story about mental health, dealing with grief and life after death. You get a better picture of the story that she’s trying to tell.

“Mental health is important, especially around losing loved ones and how you deal with it afterwards – they wouldn’t want you sitting around crying in my pain. I want you to go and live your life and Kelly talks about that in her artwork.”

The exhibition is on display at the Rotorua Arts Village until July 1, with Kelly on-site Sundays and Mondays to have a chat with anyone who stops by.

Public Interest Journalism Fund
Public Interest Journalism Fund

This content was originally published here.