Set in the heart of Arrowtown Birdwoods South Gallery brings a touch of African flavour to Central Otago.
Birdwoods South is home to a distinctive range of recycled metal sculptures, large-scale photographic canvasses along with a selection of smaller creative crafts.
“Primarily we exhibit the works by Africa’s internationally acclaimed stone sculptors along with our hand selected textiles and photos by both African and New Zealand artists,” says gallery owner Jack Stobart. “We showcase the wonderful creativity of Africa which celebrates my dual heritage having spent half my life as a Zimbabwean.”
Jack is following in the footsteps of his parents Bruce and Louise Stobart, the founders of acclaimed Birdwoods Gallery in Hawke’s Bay.
“ I travelled back to Africa and spent four months living and working in the sculpture communities of Zimbabwe under the tutelage of a small group of leading stone sculptors in 2019. The creativity and resourcefulness of the artists I met was both inspiring and humbling. They work outdoors, with no power or running water and every step in the process is done by hand. I learnt how to quarry and select raw stone, and then to find the ‘spirit in the stone.’”
He returned to New Zealand with 200 sculptures which was the catalyst for opening the Birdwoods South Gallery in Arrowtown.
“It was an amazing re-connection with the people and country but it was also hugely confronting. Unemployment in Zimbabwe is at record highs, three quarters of the population are living in poverty so it’s a privilege to be able to support and promote many of the artists. Their talent and creativity is truly inspiring, especially considering the environments in which the artists work.”
“The gallery came to life with these sculptures and I love welcoming people to see them and sharing the skills and friendships I developed there,” says Jack. “The beautiful stone sculptures and artworks we have here will add a graceful focal point to any home and garden around the world.”
The gallery is open seven days and shipping is available throughout New Zealand and internationally.