canvas

This canvas installation was created during the Canterbury Trust Bank Artist in Residence at the Christchurch Arts Centre, in 1993. It was first shown at the Hogarth Gallery in Sydney, Australia in recognition of the 1993 International Year for the World’s Indigenous People, and later exhibited at the McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch in 1994.

This type of work takes a fair amount of mental and physical steadfastness.

The significance of showing this work in Sydney for my wife and myself (we both spent many months constructing this work) was gaining the support and blessings of representatives of the local Aboriginal people and their elders.

They not only supported and blessed it, but they brought from another ceremony, held at the Rocks close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a beautiful rich red soil originally from a desert region, and placed it beneath the installation. What was also special was that the soil was carried into the gallery in carved calabashes.

It was a powerful acknowledgement of sharing their histories and spirituality of their people and vast beautiful land. They were, and are, the rightful guardians of that stunningly amazing continent.

I would also like to acknowledge the involvement of representatives of the Maori community of Sydney, the NZ Consulate General Paul Cotton; Richard Wilkins, TV personality; Tony McCarthy, Pete Hesketh, and Director of the Hogarth Gallery, the late Ace Bourke.