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March 4, 2013 | by  | in Uncategorised | [ssba]

Visual Arts

In Wellington we are lucky enough to have pieces dotted around the city that will be probably always be around. These are public art pieces. Public pieces, usually sculptural, are unlike their indoor relatives in almost every manner. Rather than being confined and lit up in a room, waiting for incoming viewers, public pieces must win over a fleeting public audience in a matter of seconds.


Bronze Form, Henry Moore

Salamanca Lawn, Botanic Gardens

Moore’s sculpture is best enjoyed by not trying to understand it. Bronze Form is exactly that—an ambiguously shaped large piece of bronze.  Moore’s sculptures, including this one, are known for strongly echoing the patterns of the human form but they also look pretty cool just taken as is. Bronze Form was bought in 1988 for one million dollars, and remains New Zealand’s only public Moore piece. Standing alone in a large grassy plain in the Botanic Gardens, its solitary stance gives the whole area an undeniably eerie feel, even in broad daylight — picnic here for a spooky arty vibe alongside your sandwiches and cider.


City to Sea Bridge Sculptures, Para Matchitt, John Gray, Rewi Thompson

City to Sea Bridge, Jervois Quay

Ah, what I consider to be one of the biggest eyesores of the whole city. These local collaborative sculptures were constructed in 1994 alongside the Civic Square rejuvenation and have become an icon of the Wellington waterfront. While it should be appreciated that the sculptures and surrounding architecture pay homage to the Maori creation story of Wellington harbour, it is hard to escape the air of tackiness exuded by the crude shapes mashed about on wooden poles. However to each his or her own—and their individuality does make for an easy meeting place.


SkyBlues, Bill Culbert

Post Office Square, Jervois Quay

The most widespread benefit of public art is through exuding a brief moment of awe upon the common pedestrian, who will pass by a piece and think “oh look at that! Haha cool.”, which was exactly my reaction upon seeing SkyBlues for the first time at night. Standing in Post Office Square, the sculpture is basically a whole bunch of curly blue neon lights strewn about some steel rods,that light up and kind of vibrate at nighttime. The artist’s explanation focuses on the blue hue of the manmade neon contrasting with the blue of the natural sky and the verticality challenging the moving viewer. Also nice to just see it and go “oh look at that! haha cool”.


For maps and other sculptures see Wellington Sculpture Trust at



Sharon Lam


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