Pupils to help with sculp­tures

Stratford Press - - News - ■ Find out more: email taimeuli@gmail.com By ILONA HANNE

Young peo­ple from all around Taranaki are be­ing en­cour­aged to get creative and de­sign a sculp­ture for their school, with two $10,000 prizes to be won in a com­pe­ti­tion.

Sculp­tor Tai Meuli, who is cur­rently host­ing the Oro Haaruru sculp­ture sym­po­sium on his Mid­hirst prop­erty, says he has writ­ten to ev­ery pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate school in Taranaki, invit­ing them to tell their pupils about the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We couldn’t leave any school out. The whole thing about art is it in­cludes ev­ery­one.”

The com­pe­ti­tion, Bat­tle of the Schools which runs from now un­til De­cem­ber 20, asks for pupils, aged five to 13 to con­ceive and draw a de­sign for a sculp­ture for their school. Judg­ing of all en­tries will take place over the Christ­mas pe­riod, with the win­ning two en­tries se­lected and con­tacted be­fore the start of the first school term next year.

Then, says Tai, the fun re­ally starts.

“The two win­ning de­signs will be brought to life, off the pa­per and into the stone, by my­self. I will do the work on the school grounds ide­ally, so the young peo­ple can see the art work be­ing brought to life and even be part of the process at times, help­ing with pol­ish­ing, with smooth­ing the lines and with work­ing with the stone.”

Tai says he plans to work with Taranaki An­de­site stone be­cause it is durable in Taranaki weather and is a lo­cally sourced stone.

Tai says once turned into a sculp­ture the two win­ning de­signs will have a value of $10,000 each.

He is al­ready work­ing on a sculp­ture of the same value to be gifted to Mid­hirst School, where he was once a pupil.

The com­pe­ti­tion is about bring­ing young peo­ple into the world of art, and show­ing them there is more to art than just paint or pen­cil, he says.

“You can’t learn this stuff at univer­sity. The only way to learn about sculpt­ing is by com­ing to a sym­po­sium like the one we have run­ning at the mo­ment, and talk­ing to the artists, ask­ing ques­tions and learn­ing.”

He says he en­cour­ages any­one think­ing of en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion to come out to the sym­po­sium and have a look at the work on dis­play.

“Ask ques­tions, look around and think. Then think about your school, the val­ues, what it rep­re­sents, and then find a way to rep­re­sent that in your de­sign.”

He wants the sculp­tures to rep­re­sent the schools well, he says.

“As the sculp­tures will be ever-last­ing on the school grounds. They will be there for the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to come.”

En­tries can be by in­di­vid­ual pupils or a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort he says.

Tai’s ad­vice for any bud­ding sculp­tors is sim­ple.

“Think about these things — form, shadow, sim­plic­ity, line and fi­nally, the ex­e­cu­tion — how will it be car­ried out.”


Tai (right) work­ing with Si­mon Te Whe­oro, a young sculp­tor, on his first mar­ble work.

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