Local artists have mounted a paintbrush protest at what Raglan stands to lose when the iconic Kopua footbridge is replaced by a controversial new structure in the not-too-distant future. Peggy Lee, Jenny Rhodes and Jane Galloway have joined forces with photographer Stuart Mackenzie in a tribute exhibition which opens downtown at Show Off gallery on Saturday morning.
“It’s a bit of a statement really,” says Peggy, formerly a ceramic artist who’s been painting for about a decade now. Peggy admits she’s a little fretful about what kind of bridge comes next, and from where (Wi Neera Street), fearing the “wonderful promenade” along the pathway with overhanging pohutakawa will be lost forever. From her artistic point of view, that access from the town side is part of the bridge’s “old world charm”.
Gallery owner Adele Wooller says the upcoming exhibition “is not just a three-week wonder” but will run for two months to capture Raglan’s peak holiday market. As well as the 11 new works being exhibited, she’s hoping to have some old paintings on loan and perhaps photos of the bridge from local museum archives to display. She’s also toying with the idea of having a petition running against the elevation and the placing of the proposed new bridge. It could be quite an historical exhibition, she says, as — whatever — “the bridge will never be the same again”.