Friday, July 30, 2010

Kaitiaki - Trustee/Guardian

I love walking a city and unexpectedly coming upon a work of public art.
Wellington is perfect for that because of the intimate nature of the city and the proliferation of public artworks. Here, in Auckland, because of the far greater spread of the city and the tucked-away nature of many of the sculptures (and, it must be said, a lack of promotion), I tend to "stumble on artwork" far less often. So I was delighted when I walked around the corner and discovered this gleaming work "Kaitiaki II" (Trustee), by Maori artist, Fred Graham.
It's located down the lower end of Queen Street.

A few days later, I happened upon this second dramatic piece by Graham, Kaitiaki .
It's part of the Auckland Domain Scupture walk, initiated in 2001 and funded by the P.A. Edmiston Trust with assistance from the NZ Lotteries Grants Board Millennium Fund.
Fred Graham (b 1928), Ngati Koroki, Ngati Raukawa, studied art at Ardmore and Dunedin Teachers' College and became one of the young Maori artists to work under celebrated Maori carver, Pine (Pineamine) Taiapa, Ngati Porou (1901-1972), who between 1946-71 worked on 39 traditional meeting houses, including the spectacular whare runanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds). Graham though, soon became interested in alternative materials and non-traditional expression and moved toward sculpture, using stainless steel, copper and native and exotic timbers. This work in the Auckland Domain, close to Auckland Museum, represents a hawk.
I like the way it's huge, swooping, menacing form so perfectly represents the predator qualities of the hawk at the same time, casting a vast, protective shadow across the land beneath.

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