Charity begins at home-less

Ceramic creations: Jane Kellahan working on sculptures for her 'Call of the Mountains' exhibition

A ‘homeless’ artist’s donating more than $2500 to LandSAR after a successful fundraiser at her recent ‘Call of the Mountains’ exhibition in Queenstown.

Award-winning Wanaka artist Jane Kellahan paid tribute to rescue volunteers and those who’ve lost their lives with the exhibition, also displaying tribute letters sent to LandSAR by families who had their loved ones safely returned.

The 46-year-old says the volunteers are “rock stars” and deserve to be celebrated.

The exhibition, on display at the Queenstown Arts Centre throughout September, was inspired by the death of her friend and mentor Seddon Bennington.

Bennington died from hypothermia while tramping in the Tararua Range in July 2009.

Kellahan spent over six months working on the collection of oil paintings, jewellery and sculptures. She says the world’s “starved of people” like the volunteers and she wanted to create a community space that shows gratitude for them.

“When critical, life-saving operations occur, it brings people together, it’s a very intense and powerful feeling.”

Kellahan and her 12-year-old son Sage are currently without a permanent home.

Having attended private school and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London, Kellahan later wanted to live in the South Island with Sage but found it tough to meet the cost of housing in the area.

For a while, they lived at the Albert Town Camping Ground, near Wanaka, but now stay in a caravan together near Lake Wanaka.

A second exhibition, attended by LandSAR volunteers and their partners, was held at Rippon Hall in Wanaka.

Kellahan’s also a judge at the Queenstown Art Awards, starting next Friday at the Queenstown Arts Centre.