Achy Breaky Heart (Michael Parekowhai, 2013)
Waikokota Lane in Aucklands Wynyard Quarter tunnels through between the two blocks of the award-winning ASB building: glass to symbolise the transparency of the bank (yeah, right) and a monumental mural by Michael Parkowhai entitled “Achy Breaky Heart”. This is what the interpretive plaque says about it:
Achy Breaky Heart is a wall of bright, over-sized Cuisenaire rods, stacked upon each other in patterns to create the illusion of movement and rhythm. The rods become lines of colour – connecting, forming partnerships and dancing before your eyes. The glossy surface of Achy Breaky Heart reflects the environment and the surrounding glass reflects the work.
Cuisenaire rods were developed in the 1950s for maths education and each colour has a mathematical unit connected to it. The white rod is 1, the red rod is two, and the orange rod is 10. The title of the work, Achy Breaky Heart, is a nod to Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie and – of course – to the early 1990s pop song and line dancing.
Michael Parekowhai was born in Porirua and grew up on Auckland’s North Shore. He works in the disciplines of sculpture, installation and photography and is a professor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.
Sunnah Thompson at Work
Once again Nga Whaotapu o Tāmaki Makaurau (The Sacred Chisels of Tāmaki Makaurau) are showing their craft at the Silo Six Pack, Wynyard Quarter. When I visited, master carver Sunnah Thompson was at work on a carving of Tiriwa (one of the ancestors of the Tamaki a Maki tribe), destined to go to Glen Eden Primary School. Always happy to engage with the public, informing, evoking responses. A collaboration between various local tribes, to celebrate Matariki (Maori New Year), and to deepen their practice of traditional carving.
Check out Silo Park for details about Mighty Matariki Markets at the Wynyard Quarter, with more carving, music, instruments, tattoo and food this weekend (17, 18, 19 July).
Chisels (Swiss Made)
Work in Progress
Sunnah and Tiriwa
The New Zealand coastal tanker Kakariki alongside Wynyard Wharf, Auckland.
Market Day at the Silo Park
A joyful display of colour on a market day at the Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter. Seen from the gantry.
At the top end of Wynyard Wharf one finds a giant axle connecting two giant cogwheels – eight tons apiece – relics from a steam dredge “Whakarire” where they transmitted the power to the bucket chain. The vessel was built in Scotland in 1903 for service in Wellington Harbour until 1934, and thereafter in Napier until 1974, at which time she was scrapped (in Auckland).
A plaque on the pavement commemorates her history. A picture of the vessel is here. And a rather poetic description of the dredge and its working can be found in Wellington’s Evening Post (1907). Two samples give a taste: “like a true Briton, she does not let the fondness for growling interfere with her usefulness“; and “Forbidding to the eye, at a distance, she is lovely at close quarters, and the music of her engines, compound by name, but simple in work, is something to thrill the blood”.
Top of Silo
The “Tank Farm” of our Wynyard Quarter is always an attraction for photographers, especially when the sun casts interesting shadows. The top picture is shot from the gantry, and the bottom one shows a bit more context.
These silos are supposed to disappear in the next few years, and 2012 saw an initiative (promoted by Hamish Keith) to give them a stylish farewell in the form of painted decorations, complete with C.K. Stead‘s poem “Auckland”. (Promptly raising fears that we might fall in love with the embellished artefacts, opposing the long overdue sanitation of this prime piece of waterfront.)
Art by Askew One (Elliot O’Donnell).
Another view of painted tanks, and the text of the poem are in this post of November 9, 2012.
A Battery of Silos
Sunnah Thompson, Vern Rosieur, Ian Strongman
… is the timber (kauri, sourced from West Auckland) which is transformed by master carvers into a door lintel which will take its place in the new Auckland Council Civic Building in Albert Street (see my post April 3, 2015). The 19 iwi (tribes) of the Auckland region are represented in the project by six carvers. Three of them were present when I visited Silo 6 at the Wynyard Quarter last weekend: Sunnah Thompson (Te Waiohua), Vern Rosieur and Ian Strongman (Ngati Wai, Ngati Manuhiri).
More of Sunnah Thompson’s work on this blog.
From the Waterfront website:
“Running throughout the month of July to 23 August between 10am and 2pm on weekend days is a very special live exhibition – Nga Whaotapu o Tamaki Makarau (The Sacred Chisels of Tamaki Makaurau).”
“Featuring six carvers representing the five tribal regions of Tamaki Makarau, this is the first major art collaboration of mana whenua (the original Māori people of Auckland), making for a truly extraordinary series of events.”
Concentration and Strength
The base of the Golden Bay Cement Silo 7 at the Wynyard Quarter shows 3 panels of murals by “BMD is your friend“. Nicely executed, open to interpretation, let your imagination go wild…
Mural by BMD is your friend
Mural by BMD is your friend
Mural by BMD is your friend
At the Silos, Wynyard Quarter
“Don’t be a litter Bug” is the admonition on silo 5.
Inside the Silos
Silo 6 is the venue for a number of exhibitions in the framework of this month’s Auckland Festival of Photography. Apart from that, it is always interesting to discover various angles of these abandoned cement silos (now monuments to the heritage of the Wynyard Quarter).