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Two new public artworks to be unveiled at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre in September

3 Jun 2016

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .

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Two significant new public artworks will be unveiled at the opening of Auckland's new ASB Waterfront Theatre when it opens in Wynyard Quarter in September.

The Edmiston Trust has commissioned renowned American artist Leo Villareal to create a three-storey LED light installation for the interior of the ASB Waterfront Theatre, facing onto Halsey Street.

This will be Villareal's first major public commission in the Pacific. Internationally renowned, he has pioneered the use of light-emitting LEDs and computer-driven imagery to create significant light sculptures and site-specific architectural works. Villareal is regarded as one of the most prominent light sculptors of his generation.

Waterfront Theatre Limited has commissioned New Zealand sculptor Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke to create a pou for the theatre's Logan Campbell Yard.

Pouwhakamaharatanga mo Maui tikitiki a Taranga will stand 6.4m tall. Based on the Maui tikitiki a Taranga narratives, and made from corten steel and laminated totara, the pou serves as a focal point for powhiri and other ceremonial events at the main entrance to the new theatre. 

Jahnke (Ngai Taharora, Te Whanau a Iritekura, Te Whanau a Rakairo o Ngati Porou) is an artist whose practice over the years has straddled design, illustration, animation, painting and neon installation. Of Samoan-German-Irish-Māori heritage, his work is typically based on political issues that face Māori people, the relationship between Māori and European colonisers and the impact of Christianity on M??ori culture.

Jahnke is considered one of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists. His work has been exhibited widely and is included in both public and private collections.

Gordon Moller, Chair of Auckland Theatre Company, welcomed the announcement today, "Two major public artwork commissions, from leading artists in their respective fields, is a very significant addition to the ASB Waterfront Theatre and the Wynyard Quarter.

"Not only can the artworks can be enjoyed by anyone who visits the Wynyard Quarter, they give expression to Auckland Theatre Company's desire to perform stories from Aotearoa and the rest of the world, on the Auckland stage," he said.

Since its formation in 1958, the Edmiston Trust has become a major exponent of public art in Auckland. Supporting the theatre with the new artwork continues Philip Edmiston's belief that the arts are important for a city to be vital and vibrant.

The two new artworks will be unveiled at the official opening of the ASB Waterfront Theatre late September.