Cel­e­bra­tion of Waitaki art

Otago Daily Times - - Front Page - HAMISH MACLEAN

A COR­NER­STONE of Oa­maru’s home­grown arts scene, the Oa­maru Stone Sym­po­sium will this year run through­out the in­au­gu­ral Waitaki Arts Fes­ti­val.

From Septem­ber 21 to Oc­to­ber 8 carvers at the sym­po­sium will trans­form blocks of Oa­maru’s cel­e­brated lime­stone, weigh­ing up to two tonnes, into fin­ished works.

Sym­po­sium site man­ager Matt King said while the bi­en­nial event, which started in 1998, was not themed, he pre­dicted sev­eral an­gels to be carved for this year’s sym­po­sium ex­hi­bi­tion.

Roseanne Sheri­dan, of Oa­maru, ap­proached the sym­po­sium ear­lier this year, hop­ing to com­mis­sion a sculp­ture to be in­stalled at the Oa­maru Lawn Ceme­tery’s Baby Gar­den, also known as the Rainbow Ceme­tery, and the Wai­mate Carvers col­lec­tive had an­swered the call and would this year cre­ate a piece for the ceme­tery, Mr King said.

He thought the work, planned to com­ple­ment an Oa­maru stone sculp­ture in­stalled by Oa­maru churches in 1998, would be ‘‘lovely’’.

‘‘This will give all those peo­ple a touch­stone, if you like, to go and re­mem­ber their chil­dren,’’ Mr King said.

‘‘It just all came to­gether — as th­ese things do. That’s part of the whole sym­po­sium process, I think — you sort of gather all th­ese threads to­gether and away we go.’’

Rather than the usual ‘‘peo­ple’s choice’’ award with gold­coin vot­ing, peo­ple at this year’s fes­ti­val would be asked for do­na­tions to pay for the work to be in­stalled at the ceme­tery.

PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN

Di­vine in­spi­ra­tion . . . While the Oa­maru Stone Sym­po­sium has no theme this year, sym­po­sium site man­ager Matt King (pic­tured) says he ex­pects to see a few an­gels cre­ated over the 18­day carvers’ meet­ing. The Wai­mate Carvers will cre­ate a com­mis­sioned piece to be in­stalled at the Rainbow Ceme­tery at this year’s sym­po­sium.

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