Art takes on min­ing off P¯atea’s coast


Luther Ash­ford, 22, wanted to cre­ate a lo­cal level re­sponse to the Trans-Tas­man Re­sources ap­pli­ca­tion to mine iron sand off the coast of Pa¯ tea.

Grand Theft Iron is her re­sponse, a vis­ual art ex­hi­bi­tion that is on dis­play at Gallery Pa¯ tea on Eg­mont St un­til Sun­day.

Ash­ford, who was born and bred in Pa¯ tea, has cre­ated three works that start a con­ver­sa­tion rather than start a protest.

‘‘I guess when I said re­sponse ev­ery­one thought of a rad­i­cal, stick-it-to-them. But it’s more a bring­ing it home and try­ing to bring at­ten­tion to the beauty, to the life of it as op­posed to the neg­a­tive as­pects to it,’’ she said.

Once find­ing out the seabed min­ing ap­pli­ca­tion had been ap­proved, the vis­ual arts masters stu­dent thought she could cre­ate some­thing that would make a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘There’s been so many protests and pe­ti­tions and things done and I just feel like it’s good for as long as it’s hap­pen­ing.

‘‘Once the hype has died down then that’s it, the con­ver­sa­tion stops.’’

The ex­hi­bi­tion con­tains two tele­vi­sion screens the show recorded dig­i­tal im­ages with lo­ca­tions, set­ting shots, finer de­tails of the beach. Ash­ford said this rep­re­sented the life of the beau­ti­ful Pa¯ tea coast.

She also cre­ated a holo­gram that rep­re­sents the po­ten­tial death of the coast that is to come it is an iron skull.

Ash­ford used her open­ing night to ex­plain the mean­ing be­hind her works, and broke down de­tails peo­ple didn’t un­der­stand about the ef­fects iron sand min­ing would have on Pa¯ tea.

‘‘The whole kau­papa of that was about all the re­sources they’re min­ing,’’ she said. ‘‘Th­ese are the facts that are printed out and ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic but it’s pre­sented in a for­mat that con­fuses the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.’’

She also had prints for peo­ple to take home. ‘‘Ev­ery­one is go­ing to ask what do the pat­terns mean and once you start talk­ing about that it gen­er­ates the con­ver­sa­tion about the is­sue.’’

The name Grand Theft Iron comes from the pop­u­lar video game Grand Theft Auto.

‘‘The whole point of that game is pretty much just mass de­struc­tion at the cost of what­ever to get the pretty penny at the end,’’ Ash­ford said. ‘‘It was meant to be a prompt for the younger ones to come in.

‘‘It also works on an­other level.’’


Luther Ash­ford, cre­ated a lo­cal level re­sponse to the seabed min­ing pro­posal it’s called Grand Theft Iron.

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