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16 November 2023
Kiwi made a surprise appearance in downtown Auckland recently, with 20 colourful and larger-than-life kiwi sculptures featured around city streets as part of the Kiwi Art Trail.
Kiwi Knievel by Weston Frizzell
Organised by Save the Kiwi and Gallagher, the Kiwi Art Trail showcased unique art from upcoming and well-known Kiwi artists, including SWEATS, Flox, Otis Frizzell, Amanda Billing and Mike Weston.
The trail was an innovative way of highlighting the challenges facing our iconic native bird. At the end of the three week exhibition, the sculptures will be auctioned on 21 November and proceeds will go to supporting the Gallagher Kiwi Burrow. This facility, which is managed by Save the Kiwi, incubates and hatches kiwi chicks and releases them into the wild when ready.
Save the Kiwi Marketing and Sponsorship General Manager, Ross Halpin explained the upcoming auction is a great opportunity to purchase one of these amazing pieces of art and support the charity at the same time.
“Visit www.kiwiarttrail.nz to register your interest if you’d like to bid to own one for yourself, or to vote for your favourite kiwi and be in to win a trip for two to the Gallagher Kiwi Burrow.”
While Save the Kiwi is fortunate to receive government funding to meet the organisation’s base operating costs, it still needs the support of donors, sponsors and activities such as the Kiwi Art Trail to contribute to much-needed fieldwork.
“Save the Kiwi has made great progress in recent years,” said Ross. “With the support of community groups across the country, iwi, and property and forest owners, we’ve been able to make more areas safe for kiwi and other wildlife. That’s the foundation stone for the work that we do.
“Gallagher’s contribution has been significant. They helped fund the establishment of the Gallagher Kiwi Burrow at Wairakei and meet ongoing costs. That facility has allowed us to supercharge our breeding programme and we’ve now had just over 300 kiwi chicks born at the burrow.”
For Auckland artist Pierre Hadlow (who creates artworks under the moniker SWEATS), being a part of the Kiwi Art Trail appealed immediately. Pierre says his sculpture, titled ‘The Great Sacrifice’, is inspired by the Māori legend of how the Kiwi lost its wings, with the bold colour palette reflecting the bright colours the bird once had. The design also serves as a reminder of the need to preserve and protect.
“It’s a warning for the future. The ‘tongue’ of the face is wrapping around the beak like caution tape. There’s both beauty and despair embodied in the design.”
The 3D surface of the kiwi sculpture presented something of a stylistic challenge for Pierre, who generally works with flat canvases.
“Even when I do some of my layered sculptural pieces, they are essentially laid-flat wood. When I got the blank canvas for the kiwi, the first layer was a high saturated look – I was aiming for the coat of fur of the brown kiwi, and then from there I started to get those thick gestural strokes in and lots of drips and splatters going on. I then worked it layer by layer until I came up to the finer refined paint, such as the bones on one side and then the faces on the other.