Nelson artist Inge Stirling’s long-awaited first exhibition is now on at Morri Street Café. Photo: Grant Stirling.

A ‘dream’ exhibition for Inge


It’s been 40 years in the making, but Nelson contemporary artist Inge Stirling finally has her first-ever public art exhibition.

Over the years, Inge has only sold her works privately – until now. Her exhibition of 13 paintings started at Morri Street Café last Sunday and will run until 1 December. Inge says she found happiness in creating art at an early age.

“I’ve always dreamed of having my own exhibition. When I was seven, I used to put my artworks on my bedroom wall and charge my parents 10 cents to see them.”

Originally from The Netherlands, Inge moved to New Zealand in 1990 and settled in Nelson in 2005 after living in Wellington.

She says when she first moved to Nelson, she was put off exhibiting her work.

“I was told my artwork was ‘more Wellington style’ which sort of knocked my confidence.”

But after her marriage ended, Inge found solace in painting. “I had all this inspiration – I needed to get things out.”

After Inge remarried, she was encouraged by her husband Grant to show off her work.

“He said, ‘you need to exhibit this, you’re really talented’, and with his help, I have finally done it.”

Inge says her style can be described as a mix of modern and contemporary, with different methods used abstractly to represent parts her life journey.

This has resulted in one-off pieces that carry their own message.

“I’ve always used art as an escape for my thoughts, and my work describes my life stories. All my works are part of me, whether its hidden in colours, textures or poetry.”

And how is she feeling about finally having an exhibition of her own after all this time?

“I’m nervous, but it’s exciting as its something I’ve always wanted and hopefully it will give me a bit more motivation to do more.

“I learned to never give up on your dreams – no matter what anyone says.”