Grant Tilly at the Southcoast Gallery, Cuba St.


by Peter Coates

June 25th 2010

Cuba Street in Wellington is developing its own special character when it comes to galleries.Amongst my favourites are Cameron Drawbridge’s South Coast Gallery the Fibre Art “Minerva” Gallery and the” Thistle” with its enterprising youthful exhibitions. All are worth visiting, all bring something special to the Wellington Art Scene. Is Cuba Street doing what our Wellington Gallery should be doing ?

Although very small,  the Southcoast Gallery hosts a delightful exhibtion by the Wellington icon Grant Tilly. I have known Grant for ages – since our times at Wellington Teachers College, and illustrating children’s stories for David Crewes’  “Merry-Go-Round” children’s television programme. Later he played the good soldier Schweyk in my first stage production and fronted and voiced many of my television programmes. Grant is always a delight to work with  and his wonderful sculptural pieces (I will avoid boxes) are a permanent reminder  of  his art and friendship in my home.

Grant’s greatest gifts to his Wellington home have been the seemingly endless brilliant displays of character acting with the professional theatres of Wellington, and his legacy of beautiful drawing of the older parts of Wellington, a legacy that constantly reminds us of what we have lost and warns us of what we must not lose in the future. One of the strong features of his current exhibition are two dimensional  street scenes that take you on walks around some of our lovely old streets. Included in this exhibition also are abstract paintings developed from segments of these unusually perspectived works.

Just to keep us up with his recent artistic developments there are examples of his colourful parrot series and the circus exhibition he had at Pataka. The ingenius is evident in everything he does, and Grant like every good artist moves steadily into new challenges.

Keep it up Grant. Everyone who calls himself/herself a Wellingtonian should have one of his works in their home.