Two Cultures Unite in Unique Exhibition

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Two Cultures Unite in Unique Exhibition

by NationTalk on October 22, 20071246 Views

Artists from different hemispheres celebrate their cultural diversity through glass and jade sculpture exhibition.

Two different cultures collide in the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition starting tomorrow at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver (through November 18). The exhibition features 19 sculptures in glass and jade created by Northwest Coast glass artist, Preston Singletary and Maori jade artist from New Zealand, Lewis Gardiner.

This is the first time that these two artists from geographically different hemispheres – in fact almost polar opposites of the world – have collaborated. Preston is Tlingit, with cultural roots in Alaska in the far northwest of North America, whereas Lewis is Maori, with his roots in the far south in North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.Both artists are linked by the Pacific Ring of Fire, a vast area of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that encircle the basin of the Pacific Ocean, with powerful ocean currents that join north and south, connecting New Zealand to North America. The theme of Fire & Water captures the essence of this region and reflects the forging of glass with fire and the carving of jade with water.

“The inner beauty of pounamu (jade) or glass is revealed when held to the light”, says Gardiner. “The shared translucency gives these artworks an almost spiritual ambience.”

The sculptures are one-of-a-kind, spontaneous works of art, a true synchronization of their shared ideas and sketches becoming reality. Fire & Water is a rare collaborative exhibition of two artists working side by side – Preston blowing the glass and Lewis carving the jade – both working together to merge their Northwest Coast and Maori designs into singular works of beauty.

Singleton’s work on the sculptures are influenced by the culture of New Zealand’s native people, “I can’t say enough about how Maori culture and art has inspired me.”

The strong connections between these two cultures will be further enhanced with Air New Zealand new non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland launching November 2, making it easier for Canadians to experience New Zealand year-round.

“Canadians are personally engaged with the beauty of the land, the people and how the two interconnect – making Canadians the kind of savvy travelers we want to attract in greater numbers to New Zealand,” said Bruce Lahood, Tourism New Zealand’s Vice President of North America. “By appealing intrinsically to Canadians’ sophisticated sense of adventure, culture, food, wine and wildlife-watching, New Zealand can consistently meet and exceed the high expectations of Canadian travelers.”

For more information about the exhibition, visit or call (888) 669-8813. The exhibition runs through November 18 at the gallery, located on 47 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A1.

For information about New Zealand’s extensive vacation options, log onto the 100% Pure New Zealand website at

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Artists Preston Singletary and Lewis Gardiner are available for interviews upon request prior to the exhibition. They will both also be in attendance during the exhibition.


Gabrielle Boyd
Tourism New Zealand
Ph: (310) 857-2205
E: [email protected]

Steven Lai
Spring, O’Brien & Company
Ph: (212) 620-7100
E: [email protected]

Minta Sherritt
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
Ph: (604) 669-8813
E: [email protected]

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