Blacksand Café’s latest art exhibition fittingly incorporates one of its staple wares – coffee. Coffee Canvas He Mauri is by local Maori visual artist Simon Te Wheoro and was officially opened last Thursday.
Simon’s choice to use coffee in several of the exhibition’s pieces was a way to support Trade Aid and Fairtrade. He’s broken the drink down into washes. “I kept layering the canvas, pouring it on, splashing it on,” he says. “Different coffees give different tones.” He admits the downsides of using the beverage were the smell and the addiction factor. “My studio was reeking,” he says. And I’m now a coffee lover.”
Another theme that runs through this exhibition is the idea of a life force. “One influence was my partner being pregnant — the idea of “eternal energy,” he says. Several of the pieces incorporate copper which he says is beautiful to work with. “I love texture. I find that if people want to touch it then you know you’ve got them.”
Simon works in a number of different mediums and he has three studios in Raglan – one for painting, one for sculpture and one for Ta Moko (tattoo). Having spent the last few years establishing himself as a Ta Moko artist he hasn’t found time for a solo exhibition. But with several national exhibitions lined up for next year he felt he was ready to show the local community what he’s been up to.

Picture: Simon with Mauri Haa, acrylic, board and gib.