Gallery brings a taste of NZ art to the Big Apple

,A gallery offering a taste of New Zealand and Pacific art has opened in the middle of New York.

A gallery offering a taste of New Zealand art has opened in New York. Source: 1 NEWS

Just off 14th Street, right in the middle of Manhattan, is a pocket of New Zealand. Ora Gallery opens this week, the work of Kiwi New Yorker Giarna Te Kanawa who painted the previously peach-coloured walls and had a gallery up and going in a month.

She's lived in New York now for 21 years and says in all that time there's "never been a gallery that's exclusively showing New Zealand, Pacifica art".

The gallery is a first. The lighting design of David Trubridge, paintings of Tane Mahuta, Piwakawaka, and modern interpretations of traditional Tongan designs are hanging 14,000 kilometres from the landscapes and legends that inspired them.

By any measure, New York is an artistically competitive city. Some estimates count 1500 art galleries in New York.

But few independent galleries in New York boast the location of Ora.

"To have this opportunity to show your work on the ground floor, 14th Street on 7th Avenue, it's just hey, you can't ask for anything else, it's priceless" says Uili Lousi, a New Zealand artist.

New Zealand artist Jimmy James Kouratoras says people come into the gallery and are excited by what they see.

"It's refreshing. It's coming out of the Pacific which is not very familiar to the average New Yorker."

At least eight other Kiwi artists are already booked in to show their work at Ora over the next few months.