Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Lost at the bottom of Swanson Street ..."

From the Auckland City Council's City Scene, 24 February 2008:

"A new public sculpture marks the site of the city's original foreshore on the corner of Swanson and Queen streets. The 7m tall artwork created by well-known New Zealand sculptor Fred Graham is entitled Te Waka Taumata o Ngati Paoa or resting canoe. Mr Graham used Corten and stainless steel in the design, which will develop a weathered, rust-like appearance over time.

"The sculpture provides a strong visual presence on our main street. It captures the historical and cultural significance of the area, and most importantly, it tells a story of our city," says Councillor Greg Moyle, chairperson of the council's Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee."

Brian Rusdman, NZ Herald, 19 March 2008:

"...Fred Graham's newly installed stylised waka sternpost, 7m high, is lost at the bottom of Swanson St."

It is certainly a visual surprise -- if you're doing what I was doing last night along Queen Street, looking at old building facades, thinking, "Hmm, would that look interesting on Timespanner, I wonder...?" So, my eyes caught sight of the birds, and then the anchor stone.

People flow around the sculpture in rush hour, as waves flow around the prow of a waka, but -- I agree with Brian Rudman. The sculpture is somewhat lost beside the glare of Burger King, at the foot of Swanson Street. Back in the 1860s, the Royal Oak Hotel was on one side, the Victoria Hotel on the other (check out photo 4-414, Heritage Images online.) Today, it's just part of Queen Street's consumer landscape.

1 comment:

  1. That's a shame as it looks like it could make quite an impression in the right location, but seems to blend into the background at the moment.