" She who does not wish to be named" has a liking for art galleries. It is something to do with the way she sighs and becomes dreamy when she sees paint brushes or empty canvas and I think perhaps there is a hidden longing to experiment with these things. So it was with some trepidation that I listened to her latest find,did my sympathetic interested cluckings and hoped that would be the end of it. However, that was not the case,and I was to become an unwilling partner in another adventure. Off to Geraldine and a visit to the Caley Art Gallery. I dragged my feet into what looked like another shop aimed at the tourists and my body language obviously showed little interest and that "bored already" look which most men seem to develop while in women's clothing shops. I was ushered through to the back of the shop into a small art gallery which had Maori designs around the entrance. In the entranceway,there was a portrait of an elderly Maori lady wearing a feather cloak - this painting marked the start of a big spiritual journey for me. The shop assistant told us that the artist,Peter Caley,had painted this picture from a photo and the elderly lady had been wearing a cardigan in the photo.Peter had decided to paint her in a pigeon feather cloak and when the family actually saw the portrait they were amazed to see this. They told him their Nana had always wanted a pigeon feather cloak and showed him the pigeon feathers she had saved up for this garment. The painting was so real I felt that I could almost reach out and touch the face of this lady, who looked like she was going to speak. Her face had lots of character and wisdom and I was overwhelmed by the spiritual feelings it evoked in me. Moving further into the gallery, the spiritual feelings grew really strong and I became very silent and focused. This caused "she who does not wish to be named" to enquire after my strange state of mind. The room seemed full of a sense of all who had gone before and the history,pride and Mana of those captured on canvas was so very real in that small room. There were huge paintings in oil of historical Maori leaders and they were solemn and silent in their feather cloaks.I could almost see the sweat on the faces and feel the pride in their hearts. There was a painting of a traditional Maori Tattoo artist at work and to the right in the soft shadows in the painting was an ancesters face. There were paintings of New Zealand birds and New Zealand landscapes and these also were very realistic and awe inspiring. There was a painting of a young Maori lady called Lisa and when the artist was painting her a smear of the oilpaints appeared high up to the left of her on the canvas. He realised that this smear had the makings of a face so worked on it and the face of Lisas dead grandmother actually appeared.This was later verified by Lisas family. Maori people have that in-built spiritual feeling which accepts and believes in the importance of ancestors and the imput that these still have on living family members and I can really relate to this. There is a warmth and a nurturing feeling about having those who have passed on as present and important in our own everyday lives. So Peter Jean Caley, a big thank you to you for giving me some of the most special and meaningful moments in my life. This mans gift and ability are extremely special and one day I hope to meet him. Peter has a website for those interested-www.caleyart.com On a lighter note, I think I will encourage the latent talents around me- who knows what masterpieces are lurking just waiting to emerge. Off now to do my christmas shopping:top of the list -paint,brushes,oils and a easel.
"Every great work of art has two faces-one towards its own time and one towards the future-towards eternity"