While visiting Blenheim a couple of years ago I spent some of my down time wandering happily around the Taylor River precinct. I came across a 10 metre tall, bright green, kinetic sculpture ‘Spring Seedling’ and was completely entranced. The Coulthard Arts Trust commissioned the work by sculptor Grant Williams and gifted it to the people of Marlborough. I sat for ages watching it slowly turn and roll seamlessly in various directions, it was mesmerising to say the least.
I was delighted to discover we had our own kinetic sculpture in Timaru as a result of the Meridian Heartland Sculpture Challenge in 2009. Ours is situated on South Street, on the clifftop against a backdrop of the ocean.
It is a wind powered kinetic piece based on the generic form and swimming motion of sharks.
In the sculptor Rob’s own words ‘I like the paradox of sharks – both ancient and yet highly efficient, both dangerous to humans and endangered by their actions. Conceptually, the fish-out-of-water carries notions of displacement. This may comment on habitat destruction, or create a sense of nostalgia and a yearning to return.
Originally Patiti Point was considered the perfect setting for the piece, with the elements of sea and wind so dominant and the native plants used in the landscaping complementing the forms and colours. However some sad soul saw fit to wreck the piece on the night of the competition launch. A local boat builder was involved in the extensive repair process and Icthys was rebuilt, repainted and repaired. A further modification was undertaken to raise the height of the moving elements out of harm’s way and into the path of the wind.
There is a picnic table not too far along from Icthys, a lovely place to sit on a nice day, if its windy you could enjoy your packed lunch or cuppa tea while watching our sculpture sway and swim in the breeze.
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