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May 24, 2015 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Taking My Mother Along To See Pinky Fang

The past week I had the strained pleasure of having my mother in Wellington. Part of the week included exploring the arty side of the city, including an exhibit at Thistle Hall Community Gallery, which she has kindly helped to review.

Thistle Hall recently played host to Pinky Fang’s first solo show, entitled FANG SOLO, which was in equal parts colourful and humorous. To those new to Pinky Fang, her work stretches across many mediums, (textile, installation, ceramics, accessories, drawings, to name a few) and has garnered a significant audience through both previous group exhibits in Wellington and online. Her work references pop culture, kitsch and cats in a way that is unpretentious and idiosyncratic.

For me, seeing her solo exhibit was nice as I recognised the style and various pieces from around town at some point, so it was great to finally put a face and name to the collection. While I recognised the style, the majority of the work was still new to me and notable pieces included a ceramic sculpture fittingly titled “Trout Tits”, a doge plate, cementing everyone’s favourite meme into dinnerware (and what’s a meal with a meme?), another plate that saw a dairy pun on Wu-Tan—“cheese rules everything around me”—and a series of singing bill bass fish impressively belting Notorious B.I.G.

While these playful takes on pop culture are a strength of Pinky Fang’s work, I wondered how someone who was completely removed from such references would find the exhibit. After we left the gallery, I debriefed with my mother, and translated her response:

“I was surprised when we got to the ‘gallery’, it looked very small and more like an empty shop to me. I guess it was, since the art was for sale, but so expensive! Triple digits for a plate, and it wasn’t even Wedgwood. I liked the plate with the cheese though, it would make a nice cheese plate for us. The art was really quite silly, I didn’t know you could have a show like that, Sharon even you could do an art show since everything you do is silly. But even though it was silly and expensive, I think I liked it. My favourite pieces were the cloth pieces, cloth is a nice material for art I think, and I haven’t seen much of that before. The singing fish were quite scary, I’m not sure I’d like that in my house, but I guess some people would. The ceramics were very different, I was interested in how they were made but not really what they looked like. They were all quite ugly but I think that all modern art is meant to be ugly, isn’t that right? I think actually that’s how I felt about most of the work—how she got her art printed on the cloth, for example, I want to do that too. That was the good part of everything—she seemed like a nice lady who does what she wants and what she likes, and by sharing that maybe other people will want to do the same.”

Thistle Hall used to be part of my daily commute, and I will admit that if not on yours, its exhibits are not always worth making it a destination in itself. This week, however, it was, and I encourage you all to take your mother along to art galleries for a different viewpoint and also for her to shout coffee and cake afterwards.

For more of Pinky Fang’s work, visit

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