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NZ Sculpture OnShore Goes Live With A Dazzling Range Of Art To Inspire And Enjoy

Calling all Kiwis to Givealittle in Support of Women’s Refuge

NZ Sculpture OnShore – the country’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition opens online today, and its organisers are committed to raising $100,000 as Women’s Refuge’s biggest fundraising event.

Lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 have scuppered plans to hold the iconic event – now in its 25th year - at the exhibition’s well-known venue of O Peretu Fort Takapuna. So, event organisers are inviting New Zealanders to visit their new, purpose-built online platform to view and purchase the more than 200 spectacular works.

The online site – www.nzsculptureonshore.co.nz - also calls for Kiwis to support women and children fleeing domestic violence by donating to their Woman’s Refuge Givealittle campaign. This year, donations will go towards ‘Kids in the Middle’, an initiative to create safe, comforting and creative spaces for children staying in each of the Refuge’s 40 safe houses.

NZ Sculpture OnShore’s Board Chair Sally Dewar is calling on all New Zealanders to get behind the campaign.

“The impact of this global pandemic has hit many of our local communities hard; more New Zealand women and children than ever before are fleeing from dangerous situations. There are few things more important than helping children feel safe and secure after experiencing trauma, and so we are determined to support Woman’s Refuge’s Kids in the Middle project.

“If you’re one of the tens of thousands of people who would usually buy a ticket to NZ Sculpture OnShore, please go online today and give generously to this important cause. If you’ve not been to the exhibition before, this is a great opportunity to do so,” says Ms Dewar.

Event curator Sally Lush says while moving the event online has been a mammoth task, the range of art in this year’s exhibition is truly remarkable.

“There are quirky and thought-provoking works, soaring monumental sculptures, sound and light art works and sight specific installations. Also, there will be many accessible works specifically for adding that special touch to home gardens.

“The works are by emerging and established artists from around New Zealand, with a mix of crowd favourites who have exhibited at previous events, and others offering fresh and exciting new perspectives,” says Ms Lush.

Included in this year’s exhibition are popular artists Jeff Thomson (Helensville) who has created more magic with intriguing corrugated iron works and Ramon Robertson (Howick, Auckland) with his distinctive and strange human forms in concrete and fibreglass, part of his Urban Props Series. Northland is well represented, with more than 20 artists from the region including works by Susan Dinkelacker, Walter Yeoman and mother and son team Trish and Sean Clarke. Artists from family groups are a theme this year, with father-daughter duo Darryl and Amelia Fagence (Northcote, Auckland) exhibiting individual pieces and James and Jorge Wright – father and son (Clevedon) exhibiting their own works.

Taranaki artist Chauncey Flay’s Parliament House Structure I is literally made out of pieces of Takaka marble removed during earthquake strengthening of the Beehive, New Zealand’s Parliament building. Nelson-based artist Maggy J reflects her commitment to the work of Women’s Refuge with her exhibition piece Great Gran, Lady’s Maid. Crocheted using reclaimed copper wire, her work’s diaphanous gowns express the strength of women in spite of the prevalent power of men over them. Fiona Garlick, who is well known for her large bronze and medallion works, presents Off Balance, a beautiful piece in bronze and bluestone.

This year’s event reflects New Zealand’s indigenous and multi-cultural heritage. Established artist Shane Hansen (Tainui, Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Hine, Chinese, Danish and Scottish descent) presents Te Tūi Kaitiaki. Master carver Joe Kemp (Ngai Tahu, Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa (Ngati Makino)) offers Hinerau raua ko Tanerau in swamp totara and Taranaki andesite. Korean-born artist Han Nae Kim’s stunning sculptural forms are renowned both in New Zealand and internationally; and work by 2018 Portage Ceramic Awards supreme winners Sang- Sool Shim & Keum-Sun Lee is on offer. Jin Ling taught art in China before migrating to New Zealand 20-years ago. Her striking, life sized, ceramic works depicting women at peace are widely recognised, and her work on this theme, Reader has been made specifically for this exhibition.

Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury says she is humbled by the huge effort put into the event by the organisers and the artists.

“For a quarter of a century, this event has pulled together an extraordinary range of art. They’ve refused to let COVID and lockdown get in the way and we just can’t thank Friends of Women’s Refuge Trust enough. We’re really pleased that this year, the proceeds will be going to a brand-new child-led initiative that comes off the back of our Kids in the Middle research, as well as to counselling services for women,” says Dr Jury.

Kids in the Middle was designed following a first of its kind research report into what children need to feel safe and secure after experiencing family violence. As part of the research, Women’s Refuge family violence specialists talked to nineteen children who had stayed at safe houses and asked them what could be done to improve refuge services for kids in the future.

“Children said they need fun, cosy, warm, interactive, relaxing, safe spaces to share with other children. For children, these items and spaces mean access to security, happiness and belonging. Items that were highly sought after included pillows, cushions of differing sizes and shapes, throws, blankets, shaggy rugs, colourful mats, curtains, different lighting options (night lights, fairy lights, lamps, free standing lights), comfortable child sized chairs and couches, snug beanbags, tactile and sensory toys for relaxation, and items that can be used by multiple children at once,” says Dr Jury.

Since inception, the event has raised more than $2.1M for the victims of domestic violence, helping women and children access safe places to stay, counselling and wrap around services.

NZ Sculpture OnShore is grateful for the support of principal sponsor Fisher Funds and gold sponsors Hesketh Henry, Harcourts Cooper & Co and Perpetual Guardian.

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