Artist Taipari Connelly and Rodney College art teacher Julie Lithgow.
Wellsford artist Taipari Connelly hopes his exhibition at OWL Community Hub (the former library) in Wellsford will encourage other young creatives to pursue their talent.
Taipari is believed to be the first Rodney College student to receive a scholarship to Elam School of Fine Arts two years ago. His former art teacher Julie Lithgow says his unique talent, influenced by Maori and popular culture, stood out at school, where he painted a mural and sold out at the annual art exhibition.
“He’s been a real inspiration to the other students,” Julie says.
Taipari says his teacher helped him realise he could pursue his passion, otherwise he would probably be a pig hunter, which he still enjoys and incorporates into his art. He also explored the traditional style of his iwi Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi and hapu Te Uri O Hau.
The exhibition will include Taipari’s earlier pen drawings and his recent paintings created during a break from Elam. One spray paint abstract work is influenced by the culture clash of urban and rural life that he felt in the city.
Taipari says he has been making art for as long as he can remember and would often get in trouble at school for drawing on his books.
“If I ran out of paper I would start drawing on my arms; I just couldn’t stop it bursting out.”
He has also covered his car in paintings, which is how OWL Community Hub coordinator Filani Macassey first came across him when he parked outside the hub.
The exhibition is on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until June 6.