Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest outdoor art show is back after a Covid-19 hiatus and features the largest number of exhibits and artists ever involved.
NZ Sculpture OnShore is staged at the clifftop park of Operetu Fort Takapuna and has 130 works by 100 artists.
Exhibition curator Sally Lush said the range of art in this year’s exhibition is remarkable, with more pieces to enjoy or buy than before.
“NZ Sculpture Onshore is a snapshot of contemporary New Zealand artwork,” said Lush. “Visitors can expect to be blown away by the size, scope and splendour of the artworks presented this year.”
Organisers of the biennial exhibition, first held in 1996, expect to attract 20,000 visitors between the opening on November 3 and its finish on November 19. All works on display are for sale to raise money for Women’s Refuge.
“All the proceeds from sales go to supporting New Zealand’s Women’s Refuge and the amazing work they do to assist women struggling with domestic violence and abuse,” said Lush.
The event has raised more than $2 million for the victims of domestic violence over the years.
“For a quarter of a century this event has pulled together an extraordinary range of art,” said Dr Ang Jury, Women’s Refuge NZ chief executive. “It’s a really fun visitor experience and we just can’t thank Friends of Women’s Refuge Trust enough for the fantastic event they run.”
Lush has been working on this year’s exhibition for more than a year with the exhibiting artists, selecting works and creating a pathway that complements the pieces and the stunning vistas of Fort Takapuna. Some works have been built onsite especially for the show.
A cornerstone work, And Then They Kissed Me by social practice artists Bernie Harfleet and Turtle Sarten, is installed in the Fort’s engine room and tunnels and is one of those built at the venue.
The confronting piece is a metaphor for the experience of women fleeing domestic violence and finding refuge. It invites viewers to write messages of hope and encouragement to those who have escaped and who are rebuilding their lives.
“The sculptures vary in materials from bronze, corten steel and glass to terracotta, Taranaki andesite, Oamaru stone and more. They showcase the incredible versatility and skill of New Zealand’s sculptural artists,” Lush said. “There’s an indoor gallery, too, that is always extremely popular. It offers a wide selection of skilfully handmade small-scale works and domestic wares.”
Included in this year’s exhibition are Jamie Thomas’ 2.6-metre-high version of New Zealand racehorse Phar Lap made entirely of horseshoes and a koru-infused seat made of Lake Tarawera rhyolite stone by Sherie Kemp. There are also two works from Kemp’s partner, master carver Joe Kemp ((Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa ki Ngāti Makino), including a piece influenced by Bob Marley’s song Get Up Stand Up called Tama Tu Tama Ora (Stand Up for Your Rights), and Pop Bang Boom! by Lang Ea calls for visitors to help in its creation by making red pom poms that cover one of the gun emplacements.
NZ Sculpture OnShore general manager Dee Paranihi said the event is a great day out to share with family or friends.
“Our event is one of the rare occasions that the public can access and visit the historic fort and tunnels at this rich cultural location,” Paranihi said. “It is very exciting to be able to offer this unique drawcard to visitors.”
NZ Sculpture Onshore is open 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays) until November 19 with tickets from www.nzsculptureonshore.co.nz