D I O N
H I T C H E N S
I believe that the Public Art context is about adding value to the community, to assist in providing a sense of pride and ownership of shared space. For me, a successful Public Art project is inclusive, it responds to the environment in scale, and the longevity of materials. It also responds to the community, acknowledging history but looking to the future.
Public Art adds value by creating personal connection and ownership of the shared public space.
This highlights the need for the work to be visually iconic.
Title: Cultural Outcrops
Collection: Manukau City Council.
Location: Manukau Civic Square.
Materials: steel, stainless steel.
Scale: Large form 3.5 meters H, 6 meters W,
3 meters D.
Small form 1.5 meters H, 1 meters W,
0.8 meters D.
Cultural Outcrops is a collaborative work with Charles
Koroneho, a multi-disciplinary Maori artist, who has an
extensive knowledge of cultural material practice. The idea was a response to the cultural makeup of
Manukau City which is predominately Pacific and Maori with new Asian immigrants. The larger form comes from Morua, a mountain in Tahiti, and the smaller form from a granite outcrop in Southern Asia.
We cloaked the forms in a korowai (Maori cloak), made of stainless steel instead of feathers. We were very
interested in the notion that whenever we migrate we see the new landscape through the lenses of our past
Collection: Auckland City Council.
Location: Mayfair Place, Glen Innes.
Materials: aluminium, steel, stainless steel wire.
Scale: 3 meters H, 3 meters W, 3 meters D,
suspended 3 meters above the ground.
The return of the Kotuku to the local area is a love story with an attached prophecy that speaks of a prosperous time. It is a story given to us by the local Iwi. This work is suspended above a shopping area in the centre of Glen Innes.
Kotuku are a very rare bird. They breed only at Okarito on the west coast of the South Island.
They live in solitude, except for the months from
October to March, when they return to breed. In some Maori stories, they are the pet of Io-matua-kore (the parentless one) and were sent to assist Tane (or Maaui depending on the version of the story) to help him find the twelfth heaven to retrieve the three baskets of knowledge. They were almost made extinct because of fashion in the late 1800’s. By 1941 there were only 4 nests, today there are about 150 nests.
Title: Te Ohomauri O Matariki
Collection: Hamilton City Council.
Location: Rototuna Roundabout, Resolution Drive.
Materials: cedar, corten steel, epoxy,
stainless steel wire.
Scale: 12 meters H, 18 meters W, 12 meters D.
Te Ohomauri O Matariki acts as a map allowing the viewer to access some of the local Iwi (tribal) history.
I collaborated with artist James F Ormsby, a local Maori artist. His role was to design the symbols which are cut out of the corten steel on the upright waka (canoe) forms. The stories are on a board at the site to give the audience access to the information. The work is also used by the Maori education department of the Waikato Museum, helping all the children in the area to have a greater sense of the local history.
Migrating tuna (eel) are hanging in the middle of the upright waka (canoe) forms. They reference the area, the place name and the past activities which were the harvesting of tuna for food. Tuna themselves are
interesting as they go all the way back to Tonga to breed and then return to the waterways here in New Zealand. The upright waka forms are used to symbolise a
Title: Star Waka
Collection: Manukau City Council.
Location: Te Matariki Clendon Community Centre and Library.
Materials: aluminium, fibre optic cable, steel.
The Star Waka is a collaborative work with
Maori artist Charles Koroneho. The upright waka is used as a symbol of peace. The stars are actual constellations with
Matariki at the center. The stars are powered by fibre optics and LED drivers. We also collabortated with Jazz Max Architects to design the paddles in cast concrete.
Title: Tiki Waananga
Collection: Auckland City Councill, Onehunga Library Foyer.
Materials: aluminium, fibre optic cable.
Tiki Waanaga were traditionally smaller handheld
objects. They were used by Tohunga (priests) in the
acquisition of knowledge. We constructed these larger forms in response to the context of the library foyer. In our modern world, this is a place you go when in pursuit of knowledge. Traditional Tiki Waananga were lashed and imbued with karakia (prayer) when constructed. Ours are lashed with fibre optic cable and glow at night. Tiki Waananga is a collaborative work with Charles
Koroneho, a multi-disciplinary artist who has an
extensive knowledge of cultural material practice.
Charles did an amazing job, working through the
complex nature of combining both the fibre optic
technology and the traditional material
knowledge of lashing.