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Flag wall adds colour to Cathedral Square

Flag wall adds colour to Cathedral Square


Sara Hughes in front of the flag wall at
Cathedral Square.


A colourful flag wall installation is the latest eye-catching addition to Cathedral Square.

Part of the Council’s transitional project, the installation is by Sara Hughes, one of the artists commissioned to develop artworks to brighten the Square.

Hughes says she wanted to create a work for Cathedral Square that had a lightness of touch and incorporated an aspect of the Square left standing after the earthquakes and the demolition.

“Flag poles and the flags they fly are symbols laden with meaning and history. It was my intention in creating a wall of flags (648 in total hung between the poles) that the work would take a protective role within the Square and that the movement and colour of the flags would blow optimism and good will into the site.

“The scale of the work draws attention to the buildings that are not there. The colours of the flags I selected were in contrast to the grey and dusty environment I experienced on site visits to the red zone before the Square was opened last year.

“It is my wish that it brings aspiration and hope for people visiting the Square and for what the Square and city of Christchurch will become.

“Public art for me is about engaging through visual imagery with a site and its people. It is very exciting for me to see the flag wall installed and to see such positive responses from people in the Square. “

As well as the flag wall, other work is being done to refresh Cathedral Square in time for winter, says Urban Design and Regeneration Unit Manager Carolyn Ingles.

“The plantings on Chris Heaphy’s living whare will be refreshed, fences realigned and maintenance done on hoardings and artworks that need it due to wear and tear associated with exposure to nature over time.”

“As more people come back to these important areas, it encourages business and investment. The Council’s Transitional City Programme is one of the ways the Council is helping support the rebuild for residents, visitors and the business sector.”

The flag wall complements Hughes’ other designs fences filled with plastic “put-in cups’’ and brightly coloured hoarding wraps. The works recall embroidery designs, tukutuku panels and slate patterns on the Cathedral roof.

The other artist whose work features, Chris Heaphy, has made use of signs, symbols and geometric architectural elements on a black background. They provide a backdrop for a whare complete with living plants.

About the artists:

Sara Hughes
Born: 1971
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland), Masters in Fine Arts with first class honours (Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland)
Recognition: Winner of The Ripe: Art and Australia/ANZ Private Bank Contemporary Art Award in 2008 (first New Zealander to win the award), and in 2005 both the Wallace Art Award and The Norsewear Art Award.
Residencies include The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 2003, The Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Residency in Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2008/09, and The International Studio and Curatorial Programme inNew York in 2007.

Chris Heaphy
Born: 1965, of Ngāi Tahu descent
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts (University of Canterbury), Masters in Fine Arts (RMIT University, Melbourne)
Recognition: Awarded the Te Waka Toi Grant in 1993, a Creative New Zealand Grant in 1999, and the Olivia Spencer-Bower Fellowship in 1995. Residencies include a Research Grant Residency at RMIT Universityin Melbourne in 1998, and the Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Residency in Champagne, France in 2000/01.


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