Sunday, May 19, 2024

Christchurch shines a light on local artists

Public art is in the spotlight with three new bodies of work illuminated in Christchurch’s Central City.

As part of the implementation of Toi Ōtautahi, the city’s arts and creativity strategy, the suites of art have been installed on lightboxes lining either side of Te Pae.

The Oxford Terrace border features work from local Pasifika artists Dr John Vea (below) and Tamara Sikuri.   

From one angle, the lightboxes show four still images from Vea’s video work Finish this week off and that’s it!

The original piece was filmed at one week intervals over a five-week period where he ate below the poverty line to show how it impacted his body and strength as he picks up a large rock and attempts to hold it as long as he can.

On the flip side of the lightboxes, you can see Ms Sikuri’s performance Turo’ which was developed in response to her discovery that between 2007 and 2020 there were only 13 Pasifika graduates at the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts.

The still images are captured from a video of her live performance where she performs a li’fu ag’äk, moving across a concrete bridge on her knees. Li’fu ag’äk is a respectful and humble position to take in her Rotuman cultural context.

“It is about Pasifika representation at the School of Fine Arts. I’m on my knees showing the struggle of being the only Pasifika person in the whole school, representing a whole people. Showing something alongside John makes it even more of an honour,” Sikuri said.

On the Tūranga side of Te Pae there are six images from Lee Richardson’s ongoing project Best Copies which feature details from articles and photos printed in The Press during the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

He has scanned and enlarged letters and numbers from the text and then paired them with images of athletes performing in a range of disciplines to create a new typeface that reflects a specific moment in time and place.

Christchurch City Council Principal Arts Advisor Kiri Jarden said the lightboxes are a great tool for showcasing local art and giving artists a platform in a prominent Central City spot.

“The work particularly impressive under low light, so if you’re in town be sure to stop by and have a look for yourself.”

Lee Richardson’s ongoing project Best Copies.

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