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All about Waitaki . . . The Forrester Gallery's This Land exhibition, featuring work selected by members of the public, is on display until April 3. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

An exhibition showcasing Waitaki through the eyes of the community is on display at the Forrester Gallery.

The artwork in the This Land exhibition was selected by members of the community, who acted as guest curators.

Guest curators each selected an artwork of the district from the gallery’s collection.

‘‘I wanted to get an idea from our community what they valued in the Waitaki,’’ gallery curator Imogen Stockwell said.

‘‘This exhibition is a community engagement project at its core.’’

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the gallery had to limit the amount of opportunities it offered the community, so focused on ones with high value.

‘‘It was about being able to pull a few people in but give them a really rich experience.’’

They also wanted to give people a behind-the-scenes look at what a curator does, something people were often unsure about, she said.

‘‘It was about breaking down some of those barriers and demystifying what we do as a gallery, and getting people to feel comfortable about the space and making it feel theirs as well.’’

Gallery staff put a call out asking residents who wanted to be involved to get in touch and were overwhelmed by the amount of people who were interested.

‘‘We were really happy we had, evidently, something our community’s interested in.’’

They randomly chose people of a range of ages to take part.

Ms Stockwell said while each guest curator had their own approach to selecting their work for the exhibition, they all openly told her about their choices.

Many were based on personal experience.

‘‘Someone said ‘I chose this photograph of the botanical garden because that’s a bank where I used to go and have picnics with my parents when I was young’.

‘‘I heard all these wonderful memories from people.’’

She was honoured the curators felt comfortable sharing their stories with her.

‘‘A constant thread was this personal experience, personal stories associated with place.’’

The exhibition will be open at the gallery until April 3. Visitors can add their own mark to the Waitaki landscape by drawing on the living mural in one of the galleries.