Home' The Wellingtonian : June 7th 2012 Contents 15
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JUNE 7, 2012
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Challenging: Heather Straka with her striking exhibition, The Asian.
Photo: CARLA PENMAN
Which is the original?
By CARLA PENMAN
Hanging 60 hand-painted
replicas of a Chinese poster girl
is intended to play tricks on the
eyes of viewers.
Auckland artist Heather Stra-
ka's latest exhibition, The Asian,
challenges Wellingtonians to
enter into a mind game. It will
line the walls of Victoria St's
Page Blackie Gallery until June
16.She said the exhibition
questioned the relationship
between the original and the
It is a situation which denies
the audience's ability to deter-
mine or solve this painting
equivalent of a whodunit,''
She said the experience would
be a fun game for children, too.
Which one is the original?
The more you look at it, the
more confusing it gets. Everyone
wants to know which is the orig-
Fake Prada sunglasses and
Gucci bags, which she bought in
Thailand in 2008, sparked her
interest in the acceptance of
cheap knock-offs and Asia's copy
Straka said her exhibition was
inspired by her trip the follow-
ing year to a copy-painting vil-
lage in China.
Armed with a memory stick of
her work, she set out to manage
the production of multiple hand-
made copies of her art in the
Dafen village in Shenzhen.
She said her study of the
paintings at Auckland's Elim
Art School had become particu-
Straka said she wanted to
challenge the difference between
traditional print making and
new age digital print technology.
She quickly realised the copy-
ists would struggle to paint her
work the way she had imagined,
owing to the kinds of materials
Her Shanghai poster girl
painting was copied by 60 differ-
ent copyists, who each inter-
preted it slightly differently.
Each copy was a copy of a
copy, as Straka's original paint-
ing was based on a Shanghai
poster. She said she had
instructed each artist to sign
their copy, to acknowledge that
each was by a different person.
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