Fay Looney has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional photographer, shooting portrait, wedding, sport and school photography. Fay is best known for her photographs of New Zealand, often featured in her many published books, with sales of over 60,000 books since 1999. Fay was also the first female president of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) paving the way for many women to follow.
Now in her late 70’s and responding to the changes in New Zealand’s publishing landscape, the physical challenges of producing new work and the loss of her husband Harry after 57 years of marriage, Fay produced a new plan.
Fay’s purpose-built garden studio has morphed into ‘Koru on Koru Gallery’, in Oakura, just outside New Plymouth. This new and exciting venture offers free space to local and visiting artists, while at the same time celebrating her own work and publications. Koru on Koru will become Fay’s main focus now while still continuing to shoot New Zealand landscapes and the people within, concentrating on the unique characters of our art community. Fay celebrated on the gallery’s opening day with the Highway 45 Dancers performing a beautifully choreographed display in her front paddock.
This direction was hardly surprising, as Fay was a founding member of the Oakura Arts Trail, an annual exhibition of local art within her own community held during the Taranaki Garden Festival.
In 2014 ‘My Front Paddock’ became the brand for the Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival as a place of interest launched under the banner Art Grazing. Sculpture, large acrylic images and stone carvings replaced grazing cattle in Fay’s front paddock over the festival week, while the Gallery enjoyed hundreds of visitors.
This continued in the 2015 Festival. Permanent works found a place in Fay’s garden, such as Shannon Novak’s Medley installation, Richard Lander’s glass sculptures, and Jimi Walsh paddles.
In the 2016 Taranaki Garden Festival, her exhibition included visiting artists Delicia Sampero (Titirangi) and Erhard and Christine Wingels (Collingwood Nelson) and over 1000 visitors enjoyed the experience.
- 1994 Professional Photographer of the year, Agfa Photokina Award
- 2004 Cathay Pacific Photographer of the year
- 2015 Cathay Pacific Best New Zealand Travel Image.
- First published in 1999 by Hodder Moa Beckitt “First Light, Last Light” across New Zealand launched a successful publishing career.
- 2005 Land Of Many Contrasts (publisher New Holland) was launched at Te Papa.
- 2009 It Must Be New Zealand (NH) sales exceed 26,000
- 2011 New Zealand Through The Goalposts (NH) (Rugby World Cup celebration)
- 2015 The Real New Zealand (NH) (small number still available.)
Ten years on and now about to celebrate her 80th Birthday Fay has continued to build her Koru Gallery Artists opportunities.
2019 started with recognition of Fays’s services to the arts, particularly photography Fay received notice of her Queens New Year Honour Award And in April was presented with an MNZM Merit award by Dame Pattie Menzies at Government House.
Koru on Devon was established in 2017 due to the generosity of Shaun and Marie Grace making a City based location available to the Koru Artist collective of which there were 22 members.
18months on the building was sold and the group now firmly established and branded Koru Galleries thanks to the success of the city location.
Soon after the move a chance conversation with a school friend an opportunity to move back into the City was taken up by Fay.
David & Wayne Brownson a long established Family Jewellery business specialising in Watch & Clock repairs made their well-known busy street level location available to the group and have now become a major sponsor, while they continue their business at a new location.
Koru Galleries continue in two locations albeit Koru on Koru Sculpture Garden and Gallery will close through Winter (open by appointment)
Re-opening mid.October. To celebrate Taranaki’s Garden festivals
Koru on Koru Sculpture Garden & Gallery is Place of interest no. 40 in the Fringe garden festival programme.
Koru on Devon has reopened with an ever-growing group of local and New Zealand artists.
Exhibitions change every month and the list of Artists booking exhibitions helps fund gallery costs.
The collective’s work is exhibited throughout all exhibitions.
Tasman Toyota Fitzroy New Plymouth hosts an annual Koru Galleries exhibition over a weekend in September.