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New Gallery Window Work Until 3 October

Auckland New Gallery

Atea Dion Hitchens

Light reflects off steel flax-like fronds which beckon at passersby, while mist unfurls from woven supplejack below, softening the sharp forms it enfolds.

Reminscent of wetlands and plains seen steaming on early morning journeys, Atea,
Dion Hitchen’s just-installed window work at the New Gallery, uses the traditions and technologies of two different cultures to create a work which is evocative of both.

Woven supplejack, used by Maori in hinaki (eel traps) symbolises indigenous
technology, while the steel blades, activitated by those curious enough to approach this work, is a quirky use of Western electronics.

“I am particularly interested in exploring the spaces between traditions.

“I see this space as a place where talk and education can help relationships, as a non-definitive space where change is constantly occurring and entities have the capacity to alter and grow,” says Hitchens.

The mechanics of Atea are deliberately revealed to anyone who takes a close look, as Hitchens wants its different elements to function as a collection of symbols which, in meeting together, are stronger than their separate parts.

A collaborative effort between himself and computer engineer Lloyd Shelby-Brown,Atea was designed to catch the attention of people walking past.

Unpredictability, in the triggering of the work’s different elements - mist, steel fronds,light effects - makes it a living, breathing work.

“It’s been an enjoyable challenge to create a work that people can connect to without necessarily understanding contemporary art,” says Hitchens.

ENDS

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