Once the sun sets on Dunedin’s main drag, George Street, the Lanyop Gallery opens its doors and invites guests to come and walk through a tiny art gallery, lit only by candles, while the gallery’s owner plays a few select tunes on his piano.
Operated out of a tiny apartment behind the Mou bar, Lanyop was created to give visitors a new way to experience art. At the entrance, which is found only by word of mouth since there is no formal distinction, visitors are given candles and invited to walk through the gallery.
The exhibitions regularly change, sometimes showing the work of well-established New Zealand artists, and other times showing the works of unknown artisans, whose bizarre work fits well with the atmosphere of the gallery. Entrance to the gallery is completely free, and stems from the idea of Lanyop, which is a Cajun word meaning “a little something for nothing.”
In February 2011, an attempt by its owner Larry Matthews to legitimize the gallery was denied by the Tenancy Tribunal of Dunedin and the current legal status of the gallery is fairly nebulous.