Whanganui artist Sue Cooke will give an Artist Talk in conjunction with her current exhibition Long Hee Lee - A Songless Land.
It took three years for the artist to develop drawings and small scale models working towards this exhibition. The concept evolved during a year of travel and research into deforestation in New Zealand, funded by the Pollack Krasner Foundation, New York.
The work titled Long Hee Lee was inspired by the Long Hilly Walking Track at Round Hill, Southland and the 180 degree curved wall of the Eastern Southland Gallery. Made up of 20 loose canvas banners, the full-sized artwork measures 3.5 metres high and 16 metres wide. The artist has chosen to work on this scale so that gallery visitors feel enclosed, overpowered and dwarfed by the forest experience. Long Hee Lee is a piece about destruction and regeneration and depicts the primary regrowth of Kamahi forest on the site of mature podocarp forest that was felled by Chinese miners from 1870 to 1890 in their quest to mine flakes of gold from the forest floor.
Sue Cooke was born in 1960 in Sydney and immigrated to New Zealand in 1973. She graduated from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, with a Diploma in Fine Arts (hons) in 1985 and has been a practising artist ever since. Printmaking is a large part of Cooke’s artistic practise but she also incorporated oils, acrylics and watercolours into her work. She has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand, as well as in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Rome.