Hamilton sculpture shrouded in secrecy

Foundation work is under way in Claudelands for the first of 10 public sculptures to be gifted to Hamilton.

The stainless steel structure - shrouded in secrecy at this stage - will be worth $290.000.

The initial piece - titled 'Te Pumanawa O Te Whenua - The Heartbeat of the Land' is being created by talented New Zealand artist Oh Seung Yul, nowadays residing in New York as the recipient of the prestigious Harriet Friedlander New York Residency award.

Construction of the sculpture is being carried out at NDA Engineering, Te Rapa.

The second work - also under construction - is to be by the entrance to Lake Rotoroa, on Pembroke St.

Both works are courtesy of philanthropic arts group 'Mesh'.

The site of the first of two new public street sculptures was last week blessed outside the Claudelands Event Centre.

The Claudelands' piece is the first of more nationally significant artworks in Hamilton.

The sculpture will be one of the largest artistic gifts to the city in years.

Mesh - formed in 2010 - has for two years been developing a sustainable private funding model and worked closely with community groups including the Hamilton City Council to re-invigorate the city's arts culture through commissioning and gifting major artworks to the city. 

The group's goal is to gift 10 artworks to the city over the next five years.  The Mesh board is made up of successful members of the Hamilton business community and also has its own artistic curatorial panel to ensure robustness in their artist selection process.

Te Pumanawa O Te Whenua will be placed permanently outside the new Claudelands venue in November in keeping with the goals of Mesh in having site specific artworks strategically placed throughout the city in prominent public spaces. 

Mesh chairperson Nancy Caiger is excited at the prospect of turning the city into a vibrant artistic hub.

"We've worked very hard on developing a model that has longevity and can become a major contributor to our city landscape without using ratepayers' funds.  Mesh is about making sculpture happen, it is what drives our group of volunteers and we're very excited about our city beginning to really express itself artistically."

She says the group is grateful to the Brian Perry Charitable Trust for providing substantial initial funding to get us going. 

"The exciting part though, is seeing a large number of other individuals and companies support us financially through cash donations or services in kind.  We have over 40 donors providing amounts from $50 to $50,000 and this really feels like the start of a new era of giving within our community"

Seung Yul's work is being kept a closely guarded secret and will be publically unveiled on November 19. 

It has been engineered and built locally with help from major Hamilton firms Holmes Consulting Group, NDA Group and Construct Limited.

In a show of support for what Mesh is trying to achieve, the companies have made large contributions of funds or services to the project.

- Hamilton News

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