A Kid in a Lolly Shop

Nejat Kavvas

Exhibition: 8 - 22 September 2020

In this latest body of work Nejat Kavvas celebrates the ‘art of making’ through a joyful collection of sculptural works skilfully created in cast glass, pate de crystal, and bronze.

Kid in a Lolly Shop sees Kavvas engage with his childhood impressions of art, the notion that creating “art for art’s sake” brings the maker joy and a sense that possibilities are endless. This ethos is reflected in Kavvas’ multi-disciplined practice that includes, but is not limited to, working in glass and bronze.  Kavvas has spent many years studying and mastering each discipline’s varied techniques.  The sculptures in this exhibition celebrate that intersection of self-expression and studied methodology.

A diverse and dynamic convocation of sculptural pieces provide the viewer with a true sense that these works are playfully in conversation with each other. A North Island saddleback (tīeke) cast in bronze with a layered patina, a rufous blaze on its back, is set to take flight alongside a geometric piece where cast, cut and assembled circles of green and yellow glass collide.  In ‘Migration’ a fever of cow-nosed stingrays in bronze hover in ribbons of kelp, swimming near a pate de crystal crescent entitled ‘We are One’, it’s half-moon form filled with an abstracted colourful depiction of earth, sea and fire. “I try to create artworks with personality; to transmit sensations by using elements of fiction or fantasy,” says Kavvas.

Inspired by leading glass-casting artist Jo Nuttall, and encouraged by architect Ron Sang, Kavvas, who grew up in Turkey “at the heart of history”, became a full-time artist 13 years ago. At first, he learned figurative sculpture at Florence Art Academy before travelling the crystalline corridor to, among others, the Pilchuk Glass School in Seattle, California Technical University in California and the Stipglass School in The Netherlands.

Kavvas can look back on a diverse and successful career. A trained pharmacist, he morphed into the role of businessman, at one stage importing glass into New Zealand, however he is probably best known for his long-time ownership of Eastern Rug Gallery. Drawing on his eye for colour and form, he also set up TechLoom, a computerised analytical system for plotting weaving patterns. In addition to the 400 plus rug and carpet designs that he has created, he has also accepted commissions for rugs based on paintings by many New Zealand painters such as Ralph Hotere, Des Robertshaw, John Papas, and Peter James Smith.

Based in Auckland, Kavvas’ studio is a haven of industrial artfulness, a place where he has designed a kiln large enough to accommodate his grander visions. It’s a world where Kavvas draws together the cultural threads of his past, his energetic present, and an exploratory future.

This is his happy place, his “lolly shop”.

Glass sculpture by Nejat Kavvas NZ artist