Thursday, October 2, 2008


Ken Hunt - A Love Affair with Birds
24 Oct - 9 Nov 2008

Kapiti artist Ken Hunt’s love of birds is at the heart of his annual Wellington exhibition at Rona Gallery opening on 24 October 2008.

Ken is best known for his internationally acclaimed Goldie paintings and commissions for Peter Jackson and Weta’s Richard Taylor, which featured at his first ever exhibition last year at Rona Gallery in Eastbourne. This year, Ken’s motivated more by love than sales and birds have won out.

Each painting is a combination of incredible micro detail, a huge number of strokes and intense concentration. They can take up to a month, a large slice of his life. “Unfortunately,” Ken says, “I haven’t the stamina I used to have as I had a major head injury several years ago or I’d paint birds all day.”

Ken has a special love of sparrows, “They are one of the most amazingly cute birds.” His first bird commission was a sparrow. The exhibition will feature more than thirty paintings of birds including natives like the takahe, kereru, kaka, kea and tui.

“Tui’s have got personality,” Ken says recounting the story of a Maori lady who rescued a tui from mouth of a cat a couple of years ago. “She taught it to talk and then released it at the Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae, with a new chortle: “Pommy Bastards.”
Ken has some favourites in the exhibition. “Some flowed easier, like the kotare,” he says, “it’s a culmination of a lot of work and research coming together.”

It was a love of birds that brought Ken together with his fiancĂ©. Ken had a sick chicken. “There’s nothing worse,” he says, “and she brought it back life.” She has hand-reared kingfishers, tui, blackbird and sparrows.

Ken is getting married next year and it’s no surprise that they are having their honeymoon at Kapiti Island’s Nature Lodge. “We want to witness the early morning dawn chorus which hasn’t been heard on the mainland for years.” Ken also has a special connection with Kapiti Island as his Wai Rewa ancestors are buried there.

The exhibition, “A Love Affair with Birds” at Eastbourne’s Rona Gallery runs from 24 October until 9 November 2008. Admission is free.