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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Owner coy on art recovery after earthquake

Owner coy on art recovery after earthquake

Last updated 05:00 03/03/2011
Artwork has been saved from a Lyttelton restaurant facing demolition.

The Volcano Cafe and Lava Bar was one of the hardest hit buildings in the port town's main street.

Some of New Zealand's top artists had painted the walls or hung works in the restaurant.

The Volcano Flag, a Bill Hammond canvas painted on half a World War I tent, was among several works in the bar by the Lyttelton artist.

Owner Peter Evans said the Hammond pieces were safe, but he was coy about how they were recovered. The building was red-stickered last week.

"They're all safe. How they came to be safe, we don't want that question asked, really," he said. "They're not priceless; they're irreplaceable."

Evans said the cafe-bar was "finished". The Volcano had moved more than 15 centimetres on its foundations.

"It'll be a level site within days, I'd say."

He doubted much of London St could be saved.

"People may want to retain their brick buildings, but they won't get insurance for them. That will be the future issue."

Lyttelton's future would be "a bit different", Evans said.

"There's an opportunity for some lightweight, wooden, single-storey building design. Buildings come and go, but the the people are still there," he said.

"There'll be an absolute rush to get the first bar open."

There would be no attempt to recreate the Volcano.

"I think its time has come and gone and it won't look like this building. Any efforts to try to recreate what was are doomed to failure," Evan said.

He was too "shell-shocked" to consider his future, but will not quit Lyttelton.

"This is where I live," he said. "I'm not going anywhere."

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