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SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial artists announced

Background Image: Christchurch Central, overlooking the Avon River; photo Courtesy Rob Garrett, Curator, SCAPE 8.


The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial was introduced last night by curator Rob Garrett, who described the curatorial theme, New Intimacies, and announced the participating artists to a full house at the Physics Room in Christchurch.

The artists invited to create new site-specific public art works for the biennial are Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, and Kai Tahu), Christchurch; Pauline Rhodes, Christchurch; Hannah Kidd, Methven; Fiona Jack, Auckland; Judy Millar, Auckland/Berlin; Peter Atkins, Australia, and Antony Gormley, from London, United Kingdom. Their projects are still being developed, with the titles and locations of their works to be released in July 2015.

“Returning to Christchurch last year after some years away,” says Rob Garrett, “it was obvious how the city’s changed appearance plays tricks on the memories of locals and visitors alike. Standing in places once shaped by familiar landmarks – a friend’s place, a favourite café or bookstore – I wondered if the SCAPE 8 public art projects could, in some modest way, help people form new, memorable and intimate connections with the fabric of the city as it is now. The artists I invited to participate have each been inspired by the same desire.”

Alongside the artists’ works, two public participation projects were also revealed.

#ThatTimeYouHelped - Our Portraits of People Reaching Out to One Another, invites locals to create photo-portraits of “a person who has helped you or others” and to upload them to an online gallery.

For those who want to gain some new skills or insights, there will also be a series of free Saturday workshops during SCAPE 8 - The ‘How-To’ Guide to Making Portraits - which will be run by members of the local creative sector. A call-out to Christchurch’s creative sector for workshop proposals was released at last night’s launch.

SCAPE 8 New Intimacies

Garrett explained that the title for the 2015 biennial, New Intimacies, comes from the idea that visually striking and emotionally engaging public art works can create new connections between people and places. Under the main theme of New Intimacies there are three other themes that artists will respond to: Sight-Lines, Inner Depths and Shared Strengths.

Sight-Lines engages with the changed landscape of the city centre, with its new vistas opened up across city blocks, out to the Port Hills and beyond. Artists have been invited to consider how the city’s new spatial character has the potential to stimulate fresh thinking.

Inner Depths recognises Christchurch as a water city; where liquefaction, flood and failed infrastructure mean that water has taken on a new significance.  Through this theme, artists were invited to explore subterranean strata and water flows, as well as exploring underground water as a metaphor for the city’s cultural layers and memories.

Shared Strengths recognises the resilience of people, and the power of helpfulness and self-organising communities to buoy the city through tough years. Several SCAPE 8 projects honour and celebrate the ongoing, everyday phenomenon of people helping each other.

SCAPE Public Art Director Deborah McCormick says, “The themes of New Intimacies demonstrate Rob’s responsiveness, both to the city of Christchurch post quakes and to the biennial format. I am delighted that local community-based projects have been included as part of the programme and am looking forward to watching them unfurl.”

SCAPE Public Art works closely with industry and business partners to deliver artistically excellent artworks, which enliven public spaces and add artistic expression to the Christchurch rebuild landscape. As with Previous SCAPE Public Art Christchurch biennials, SCAPE 8 will see the installation of one major legacy/permanent public artwork for Christchurch. This legacy artwork, backed by the Christchurch City Council Public Art Advisory Group, will be that of renowned British sculptor, Antony Gormley.

The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial is a contemporary art event, which mixes new artworks with existing legacy pieces, an education programme, and a public programme of events. The SCAPE 8 artworks will be located around central Christchurch and linked via a public art walkway. All aspects of SCAPE 8 are free-to-view and will be available to visit over a period of six weeks between 3 October and 15 November 2015.

Rob Garrett is a New Zealand-born curator based in Poland, with more than 35 years in the art sector, including curatorial experience in New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, France, Turkey, Germany and India. Most recently he curated the 2013 Narracje public art festival in Gdansk, Poland.

More detailed information about the SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial and artists is available on the website

The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial is pleased to announce our platinum sponsors: Creative New Zealand, the Christchurch City Council, the Rata Foundation and Westpac.  


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SCAPE Public Art

17 Sep 2015

Interests SCAPE Public Art install large scale, free-to-view contemporary public art in Christchurch city.