Alan Wehipeihana, Paekākāriki icon and full time artist since 1992, has worked with glass, stone, wood, books, found objects and paints throughout his creative career. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country, is held in private and public collections, graces the halls of parliament and Prime Ministers have gifted his limestone carved works on overseas missions.
Before this though, Alan worked as a rubbish collector in the days when you would run into back yards of Wellington homes with a bag and tip the rubbish inside, whilst keeping an eye out for dogs! There were two attempts at University studying zoology among other things and a career as a landscaper in Johnsonville, employment at Wellington Botanical Gardens and five years working as a Postie in Karori and another five in Paraparaumu.
It was during this time that Alan developed an interest in art and also started to work with glass in the basement of his house. After glass came stone carving, which led to a strong demand for new work via Masterworks, Kura, Statement and other galleries and museums. Alan was also part of a Christmas exhibition in Munich, Germany, where there was a strong demand for his stone carving.
After a full time career in stone came wood. He has many memories collecting driftwood from Pukerua Bay and other beaches, balancing logs on the handlebars of a push bike. Receiving recycled doors and cupboards, and books for assembly into works of art, Alan also produced painted works.
Currently exhibiting two works at the Creative Manaaki Gallery at Kiwibank Paraparaumu, Alan provides some insight to his creative process in that ideas can come from many avenues, whether it be a movie, book or sitting in a café. “You have to be in the right frame of mind to receive ideas” says Alan. “The Pacific Angel piece is the end of a long series of saintly pieces that started with Tuteremoana, ‘he whose head is adorned with the glow of heaven.’ Essentially, the idea that in Maori culture there is also a concept of enlightenment.”
The other piece makes use of Op shop visits and leftover materials in my studio.
To view and purchase:
10am – 2pm, Monday – Friday, Creative Manaaki Gallery, Kiwibank Paraparaumu until 28 June.
10am – 4pm, Friday – Sunday, Holtom’s Art Studios, Beach Road, Paekākāriki