New artworks for downtown Auckland
Five bronze waka and a lightreflecting sculpture will be installed in Auckland’s central business district for $300,000.
Artist Chris Bailey’s Tauranga Waka, worth $100,000, will be installed on Beach Rd and artist Catherine Griffiths’ Light Weight ‘O’, worth $190,000, will be installed on O’Connell St.
Auckland Council is funding the two pieces to acknowledge the significance of mana whenua and to draw foot traffic to the city. Mana whenua refers to iwi which have authority over a particular area or piece of land.
Bailey said the waka sculptures were being installed on Beach Rd because it was the original foreshore before land was reclaimed in the 1800s.
He said the sculptures depicted working waka used for fishing and moving produce, rather than war canoes.
’’These are the waka that supported family life and kept the people fed,’’ Bailey said.
‘‘The positioning of these waka pushing up through the pavement reminds us both of the original foreshore lying under the pavement, but also of the rich Maori maritime history of the area.’’
Pedestrians were invited to brush their hands over the prows as they walked past. He said the physical connection would highlight the carved narratives on each piece.
Auckland Council arts and culture manager Richard McWha said the installation of Light Weight ‘O’ would draw pedestrians to O’Connell St and liven up the area.
The suspended artwork made of glass and brass would reflect the lane’s extraordinary heritage streetscape, McWha said.
Artist Catherine Griffiths said her piece was part of a series of ‘‘vowel’’ works in public and private spaces.
’’I look forward to the act of polishing which will offer another shift, or glimmer, of surprise over time,’’ Griffiths said.
Auckland Art Gallery director Rhana Devonport said strong poetic public art was an integral part of the great cities of the world.
She said many visitors to the Auckland Art Gallery visited pub- lic art works in the city and they were a gift to the city.
‘‘They create a sense of possibility, creativity and imagination,’’ Devenport said.
The sculptures would be completed early next year.
Chris Bailey says the waka reflects the rich Maori maritime history of the area.