New Zealand sculptor Lucy Bucknall tackles some confronting topics through her work. Reporter Jenny Ling visits her new home in Kerikeri to find out what's next for the artist.
Three bronze vultures pick over human remains on the front lawn of Lucy Bucknall's new home in Northland.
Out the back, a group of concrete figurines stand defiant, protesting against the Egyptian government. They wear buckets and helmets on their heads as protection from beatings by police.
And on the top step leading into the house, sits a small sculpture of a bomb.
These are just some of Bucknall's highly political artworks which reflect tragic and traumatic events happening across the globe.
The figurines are a reminder of the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests and uprisings that spread across the Arab world in the early 2010s in defiance of authoritarianism, corruption and poverty.
The bomb on the steps recalls the 2005 London bombings, where four suicide bombers with rucksacks full of explosives attacked central London, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds more.
The vultures are "about climate change and the end of humans, and picking over the remains of civilisation," Bucknall said.
"People destroying each other basically."
They are also partly inspired by a scene in the movie Jaws, when Richard Dreyfuss holds up the severed arm of Chrissie Watkins, the first shark victim, during the autopsy and declares, "Well this is not a boat accident!".
It's heavy stuff, macabre even, but Bucknall isn't one to shy away from world events.
Her work tackles many big topics, like climate change, war and terrorism.
Most of it stems from her family, who live in the United States and England, where Bucknall is originally from.
She's also heavily influenced by her brother-in-law, war journalist Michael Phillips who works for the 'Wall Street Journal'.
"I'm very aware of various goings-on around the world in terms of my family," Bucknall said.
"We are all spread out. I try to reflect what's going on around the world and around me."
BUCKNALL HAS always been interested in painting and sculpture, gaining her degree from the Bath Academy of Art by the age of 21.
After college she became an apprentice of sculptor Sean Crampton, an artist and World War II hero who lost his leg in battle.
Crampton, who died in 1999 aged 81, was a pioneer in welding phosphor bronze.
When his doctor said he had to stop sculpting because of back problems, Bucknall constructed pieces under his guidance.
"I was his apprentice for about seven years on and off, and that's how I learnt the welding skills."
She went on to work as a foundry worker, gallery manager and art tutor before moving to New Zealand in 1998, basing herself in Auckland and establishing herself in the art scene.
She worked as a tutor and curator for Hungry Creek School of Art in Puhoi, then set up Mastering Art classes for adults, which are still going.
Her work has won numerous awards and has been showcased at galleries and art events around the country.
A wolf and her young howling at the sky have appeared at Sculpture in the Gardens at Auckland Botanical Gardens, and a cat wearing a bomb vest – reflecting suicide bombings - featured at NZ Sculpture OnShore.
A group of meerkats dressed as special troopers on patrol with helmets and rocket launchers won the people's choice award at Headland Sculpture on the Gulf at Waiheke Island.
Other works include a bronze cat wearing a full-face gas mask and monkeys holding revolvers.
Bucknall has also created paintings of burqa-clad women which hang on the walls of her home.
"They're snapshots of what's current and what's going on," she said.
"Being here, in a place that's removed, I'm in a better position to stand back and reflect. But I'm also touched by it because of family and friends."
Yet there is a softer side to Bucknall's art.
Her biggest public work is a 2.7 metre sculpture of a polar bear wearing a hooded sweatshirt called Big Man, which represents climate change.
Bucknall said many people feel compelled to hug the sculpture which won the McConnell Family Supreme Award at Auckland Botanic Gardens in 2012.
The bear was bought by E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust in 2016 because they thought he looked empathetic and comforting – a perfect fit for a hospital.
He still stands guard on the Hutt Hospital grounds.
"Someone sent me a photo of a little boy in his pyjamas with his breathing tubes giving the bear a hug," Bucknall said.
"He'd been so ill and he could see the bear from the hospital window but couldn't go out of his room. The first thing he did when he got better was go and give the bear a hug. That's all he wanted to do."
NOW BUCKNALL has been drawn to Northland.
With her two sons grown up and wanting to escape the Auckland traffic, she bought an old homestead in Kerikeri and moved in last November.
"In Auckland I was renting a room in a community house and wanted to expand.
"I wanted to get a better property to enable me to teach from home, and make it into a place where people can come and spend a lot of art time."
She has set up a large and spacious studio that's flooded with natural light where she is holding weekend workshops and classes.
Her first workshop was a two-day life drawing intensive in March and the next will be held in June.
She is also holding her Mastering Art classes for adults on Wednesdays for a nine-week term.
At these day-long classes students can learn about all aspects of art including still-life, life-drawing and art history, along with techniques such as mono, screen and lino printing, collage and clay work.
Bucknall is also in the process of transforming the property into an artist's retreat, complete with cabins on site.
Since she has been up north, she has noticed her work has begun to change and evolve.
She is painting great blooms of flowers and is collaborating with another local artist to create pieces of driftwood with embedded bronze.
She is also doing more work with screen prints, and has several sculptures at Art at Wharepuke.
Bucknall said she is excited about her latest venture sharing knowledge and skills with Northlanders.
She is loving the warmer climate and birdlife.
"Being near the coastline is very different from Auckland, the whole landscape is far more appealing.
"It's got that freedom and space ... you're more aware of nature around you."
* Bucknall's next workshop is on June 26-27. Visit www.lucybucknall.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org