public art work serving as a gateway

Dunedin artist Ayesha Green is delighted that her work has been chosen for the Octagon.

“The Octagon is the heart of the city,” she said. “And it is important that the mana whenua is represented in this heart.”

Mrs. Green described her sculpture, Ko te Tuhono, as a ” gateway connecting us to our deep ancestral ecologies ”.

” It is a passage to our landscape, our life and the wairua (spirit) that we share with the port … when you move to Ko te Tuhono, you are inside and outside, you come and go. As a monument to our tipuna and our tamariki, Ko te Tuhono transcends time and space. ”

Ms. Green was selected by Dunedin City Council from among four finalists.

The public art selection panel met last Thursday and preferred Ms Green’s work, said Lisa Wilkie, relationship advisor for the council’s Ara Toi team.

“The Selection Board was particularly impressed with the intimate connection to the place demonstrated by this work and all felt it was important – and overdue – that the mana whenua be visibly centered in a public space like the Octagon” , she said.

“Ayesha developed her work in close conversation with Te Runaka o Otakou.”

The public had the opportunity to express themselves.

“It was a pleasure to see people take an interest in the potential artwork and Ayesha’s proposal was popular,” Ms. Wilkie said.

The work could be installed this year. Location and installation details have yet to be confirmed.

Ms. Green would work with local businesses to manufacture and install her work.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, she received one of the Foundation’s first Springboard Awards.

They have been awarded to six artists, each at an early stage in their career and who have demonstrated exceptional potential.

Last year, Ms. Green won the National Contemporary Art Award.


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