Domesticating the south coast
Opening: 5.30 pm 11 August 2006 until
27 August 2006
McCormack Studio and Gallery 355 The Parade, Island Bay
A herd of cattle will soon be grazing in Island Bay. From 11- 27 August, 9 cows and a bull made from copper, clad in bull kelp and mounted on cork flotsam from the recently sunk frigate, will be on show at 355 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington.
The exhibition Kelp Cows by Wellington sculptor Nick Dryden, questions the wisdom of further attempts to domesticate Wellington’s South Coast by building on it. “Cattle were an obvious choice,” says Nick, “not just because of the recently constructed fences along the pathway around Te Raekaihau Point – referred to by some locals as the cattle-yards, but because of the long history of cattle being used to tame our foreshores. Grazing and trampling by cattle have destroyed our natural dune systems resulting in their colonization by marram, lupins, kikuyu and other introduced species.”
While Nick has been involved with a local coast care group to replant the Island Bay sand dune in native pingao and spinifex other areas of the coast have been targeted for development. “Tourism is the new cash cow,” says Nick “and this also takes its toll on the foreshore. It is being tarsealed, built over and the sea is seen as a dumping ground for rusting ship carcasses.”
Nick found kelp an intriguing material to work with. “It has a wonderful suppleness, with a look and texture uncannily like leather - a perfect skin for the Kelp Cows”. Kelp is also a natural hydrometer reacting to moisture in the air.
While Nick has used kelp before in his work he more commonly works in wood, marble or bronze.