On Friday and Saturday afternoon, both artists showcased 30 pieces of their contrasting smooth black basalt stone carvings and Flay’s white abstract coral work.
“It’s my first exhibition and it’s an amazing opportunity to be invited by Mike to have a show together,” say Flay.
Back home in Taranaki, Flay usually carves rock forms from locally sourced grey andesite stone, and has enjoyed the challenge of working with a new material.
Flay said he bought his tools back to Raro with him and was welcomed into Tavioni’s studio.
“I started working with some coral in the same geo-metric abstract style that Mike does with stone. And I had the idea that it would work with coral.
“Mike then suggested we have an exhibition.
“So suddenly we had to crank up the production, with lots of experimentation and trial and error.”
“Mike says the organic forms of coral look really good, with the geo-metric shapes that I’m cutting. And Tavioni says the contrast between the white and black work, with his basalt stone and more traditional Cook Islands carving, complementing my more abstract style.
Tavioni, jokes, “I call him racist because he only uses white, so that’s why I had to step up with black stone.”
Flay says “It was his idea to have the show. And it’s been a great chance to reconnect with all my old friends on the island.”
He previously lived in Rarotonga from 2011 for six years, and has only recently relocated back to New Zealand, but is flying back home this week.
If you missed the exhibition, but are keen to see the eye-catching pieces, they will soon be moved into Tavioni’s new studio gallery next to the Whale and Wildlife Centre on the back road in Atupa.