Art & creativity  |  16 Nov 2023

Christchurch’s central library has become the home of an art takeover for the next three months with an exhibition room, temporary murals, and hidden artwork spotted around the building.

In partnership with Christchurch City Libraries, Sanctuary by Ōtautahi Creative Spaces (ŌCS) began on 10 November and will run until 4 February 2024, showcasing over thirty-five rangatahi (youth) artists from around Ōtautahi.

Sanctuary is a fantastic chance to revitalise Tūranga by creating a community space for our local artists,” says exhibition curator and producer Audrey Baldwin.

“The exhibition involves three ‘hangs’ where art will change once a month, allowing us to showcase as many artists and as much range as possible.”

All pieces on display are the work of Christchurch youth from ŌCS – a not for profit, community focused organisation that uses art and creativity to combat mental distress.

The creative occupation welcomes diverse rangatahi from different backgrounds, with different levels of art experience to come together.

“The exhibition is a great opportunity for young Christchurch artists to build their skills and confidence, elevate their practice and feel proud and strong in their work,” says Ms Baldwin.

“You’ll find works with elements of cultural narrative including groups such as Islamic calligraphy and reworked tuku tuku panel patterns, alongside a rangatahi rainbow group and a range of young artists – this is a way for people to amplify the voices of those different backgrounds.”

Ms Baldwin says that while the exhibition space is the heart of the takeover, the organisers wanted to make artists feel at home in Tūranga by spreading their work across the whole space.

“Walk around the building and you’ll find temporary murals on each floor, hand decorated tiny doors, stained glass windows and surprise bookmarks hidden in library books.

“Alongside showcasing these artists, the exhibition is also our way of encouraging the public to explore the library and showcase our cities diverse community spirit.”

One of the aims of the project is to show what’s on offer at the library by promoting these smaller activations and ongoing interventions and events from November to January, including an open sketch club, a spoken word event and a gender euphoria clothes swap.

Find more information about Sanctuary here.