Giant sculpture to be unveiled
The largest sculpture in the Wellington region will be unveiled today by Mayor Ray Wallace.
The sculpture, Lightwing, was installed over two days last week on the roundabout at the entrance to Seaview.
The brief of artist Andrew Thomas was to capture the natural surroundings and industrial history of Seaview and Gracefield.
Lightwing is a result of a fiveyear collaboration between the Hutt City Council, the E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust, the Seaview Business Association and local businesses.
Weighing in at 20 tonnes, and standing at 6 metres high and 10 metres wide, it would be Wellington’s largest sculpture, Allan Brown of the art trust said.
Although there were taller and longer pieces around the region, when added up, the proportions of Lightwing were unchallenged in overall scale.
With a brief to capture the identity of the area, Thomas created a sculpture inspired by the surrounding natural environment, the clean lines of architecture and the area’s industrial history.
Thomas, a production designer, said before starting on the piece, he learned the history of the area and looked to its proximity to natural landmarks such as the Waiwhetu Stream.
‘‘It has this sense of many ideas in it. Because it’s on the centre of the roundabout, it changes its shape as you move around it.’’
He also took inspiration from the feathers of white herons, that would gather around the mouth of the Hutt Valley.
Thomas said he was thankful for all the work done by the community and local companies to help bring the sculpture to life.
True to the original ethos of the project, the sculpture was fabricated in Seaview with a number of local companies involved.
About $100,000 worth of engineering work, blasting and paint- ing were carried out by local companies to keep the cost of the sculpture to $250,000.
Brown said the detail in the construction of the curved, tapered and hollow structures was particularly impressive.
‘‘This is massive for any- where in New Zealand and there will be a great deal of satisfaction from all those involved.’’
Preparations for the foundations only began a month ago. Building on the large and busy roundabout at the entrance to Seaview had been a challenge.
‘‘This is the last time I will be having an install in the middle of a roundabout. There’s stormwater and sewerage infrastructure [buried] in the roundabout, so we’ve had to leave access to those. It’s also just tricky [crossing the road] to have a look [at progress on the construction].’’
Despite the difficult installation, he said the result was a distinctive work which would serve the area for years to come.
Allan Brown from the art trust said the shape of the sculpture could make it look like the surrounding hills, a breaking wave or a bird’s wing.