Public art work to function as gateway

Art in the heart of the city ... Ayesha Green, of Dunedin, has had her sculpture chosen for the...
Art in the heart of the city ... Ayesha Green, of Dunedin, has had her sculpture chosen for the Octagon. . PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Dunedin artist Ayesha Green is delighted her work has been chosen to feature in the Octagon.

‘‘The Octagon is the heart of the city,’’ she said. ‘‘And it’s important that mana whenua are represented in that heart.’’

Ms Green described her sculpture, Ko te Tuhono, as a ‘‘gateway connecting us with our deep ancestral ecologies’’.

‘‘It is a passage to our landscape, our life and the wairua (spirit) we share with the harbour ... when you move through Ko te Tuhono, you are inside and outside, you are coming and going. As a monument to our tipuna and our tamariki, Ko te Tuhono transcends time and place.’’

Ms Green was selected by the Dunedin City Council from four finalists.

The public art selection panel met last Thursday and preferred Ms Green’s work, relationship adviser for the council’s Ara Toi team Lisa Wilkie said.

‘‘The selection panel was especially taken with the intimate connection to place evinced by this work and all felt that it was important — and overdue — for mana whenua to be visibly centred in a public space like the Octagon,’’ she said.

‘‘Ayesha developed her work in close conversation with Te Runaka o Otakou.’’

The planned artwork, Ko te Tuhono. Photo: Supplied
The planned artwork, Ko te Tuhono. Photo: Supplied
The public were given a chance to express their views.

‘‘It was a delight to see people engaging with the potential artworks and Ayesha’s proposal was popular,’’ Ms Wilkie said.

The artwork could be installed this year. Siting and installation details are yet to be confirmed.

Ms Green would work with local businesses to fabricate and install her work.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, she was awarded one of the Arts Foundation’s inaugural Springboard awards.

They were awarded to six artists, each at a formative stage in their career and who showed outstanding potential.

Last year, Ms Green won the National Contemporary Art Award.


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