A $200,000 public sculpture being installed in Auckland is causing a stir with locals, who say it resembles a penis.
The Auckland Council-commissioned Transit Cloud has been created as part of a project to breathe new life into traditionally working class New Lynn.
The aerial component - four aluminium mesh cloud forms - hangs more than 8m over a lane linking New Lynn's shiny new railway and bus station with the town's library and shopping mall.
The clouds allude to the sky, but two of the forms are being viewed very differently by locals.
"Oh my God, it's a cock and balls," said Phil Wellman, of Blockhouse Bay.
"Don't you think it's rude?" said Henderson mother Janine Waters, walking her two young children in a pram.
"It's definitely that. What else could it be," she said.
Another woman, who did not want to be named, called the forms "masculine".
Frances Toohey, who works at Pita Pit by the lane, said the sculpture was very phallic. Customers had been commenting a lot, she said.
"What the hell is that? It's certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis," said Joy Dale, of Mt Roskill.
She said the sculpture was a waste of ratepayers' money and the council would be better spending the money on more security and patrols in the area.
Sculptor Gregor Kregar, who with his artist wife Sara Hughes and architect Davor Popadich created the work, said there was never any intention of creating a large phallic image in the sky.
Transit Cloud, he said, was connected to 30,000 tinted ceramic dots in the laneway floor, acknowledging the local portage history and modern transport focus of the precinct. The forms above resembled clouds and liquid matter, like raindrops.
"Art is out there to stir reaction," said Kregar.
He was confident people would embrace the work after 50m of neon lights are connected in each form.
The sculptor gave the Herald images of the clouds lit up in his New Lynn studio to show how the finished work would look at night.
Mr Popadich was surprised by the public response to the sculpture, saying it had a joyful and fun aspect.
Council arts and culture manager Kaye Glamuzina said art was always controversial and interpretation subjective.
Sculpture controversy• $200,000 sculpture being installed in New Lynn.
• Collaborative work meant to resemble clouds.
• Locals say it resembles a penis.
• Council says art is controversial and subjective.