Public art is telling a tale

By Shontelle Campbell

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Mesh Sculpture Hamilton treasurer Stuart Anderson
Mesh Sculpture Hamilton treasurer Stuart Anderson

Mesh Sculpture Hamilton treasurer Stuart Anderson describes art as the gymnasium for the mind.

He said public art is a way of making people think and the beauty of it is that you do not need to understand it. It is what it is to the individual, so it can be whatever they interpret it to be.

He said there were many organisations involved in funding public art in an effort to keep Hamilton vibrant.

One of those organisations is Mesh Sculpture Hamilton - a charitable trust set up to raise money for and commission nationally significant artworks, which are then gifted to the city.

"You're always going to get mixed reactions with art. Some of it will be positive, some of it will be negative, and that's fine because the important thing is that it is generating conversations. But hopefully if the quality of the work is good enough then over time it just becomes a fabric of the city," Anderson said.

With the help of donors, Mesh Sculpture Hamilton has gifted three major projects to the city. The first was Te Pumanawa o te Whenua - Beat Connection by Seung Yul Oh, installed in 2012 at Claudelands Events Centre on Heaphy Terrace and the second Te Waharoa ki te Ao Maarama - The Entranceway to the World of Enlightenment by Lonnie Hutchinson, installed in 2013 on Pembroke Street.

The third sculpture is The Tongue of the Dog by Michael Parekowhai which was installed earlier this year outside the Waikato Museum on Victoria Street.

Anderson says it would be great to eventually have an arts sculpture trail where people can start in Claudelands and make their way to the CBD and the Hamilton Gardens.

Once the long road and process of getting each sculpture installed was complete, Anderson said he felt invigorated and had a sense of pride and excitement. He explains that seeing something on a piece of paper is quite different to seeing it in reality.

"The process of getting it to completion is hard work, so often by the time you get it towards the installation period you're feeling pretty tired, but seeing it all complete in reality just makes it all worthwhile and it does reinvigorate the team to get on with the next project," Anderson said.

Mesh is currently working on its fourth project and is looking at another central city site, but the sculpture details are still under wraps.

To fund the next project and future sculptures the organisation is continuously seeking donors.

Anderson said people who donate can feel proud about what they've contributed towards and will have the opportunity to be involved with a piece of artwork in their city that they can show their children and grandchildren. Individuals or businesses who want to donate can do so on the Mesh Sculpture Hamilton website.

Anderson said the arts bring a lot to Hamilton because it makes a big difference visually, but it also allows the city to express itself, create landmarks for different areas of the city and places for people to recognise.

"Public art helps the city tell its stories in ways that are a little bit different and interesting - they tell a tale that is important to the city."

- Hamilton News

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