For existing public sculptures, go to the Feature Items and Publications menus

Recent and other interesting sculpture news is featured below.


Blue Oyster Art Project Space 2017 Six Month Proposal Call | Now Open

Proposal Deadline: 31 August 2016


16 Dowling St Dunedin.

Blue Oyster is pleased to announce a call for solo, duo, group and curated exhibition proposals for the first half of 2017. A proposal call for the remaining 6 months of the coming year will be announced early 2017.

We prioritise proposals that are speculative and display new, innovative, experimental and non-commercial art practices. Proposals are selected by the Director and Trust on the relevance, depth and quality of the project proposed regardless of career stage or education. The best proposals speak to an artist’s practice and the artistic community as a whole and allow for the project to develop and challenge current perspectives relating to the wider world.

Blue Oyster aims to broaden an interest in contemporary art within the local and national community, and to provide a space for dialogue around contemporary art to develop. The Trust aims to present original work that responds and works in harmony with the Blue Oyster space, locale and history.




SO WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE Archibald Baxter memorial planned for the Otago Museum reserve?

A shortlist of sculptors was selected and detailed concept plans were submitted, and something went awry. The DCC has withdrawn support, the Museum is silent, …….. the sculptors are in the dark.

FREE 3pm Saturday 6 August 2016 at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery,  curator & artists’ tour of Light switch and conduit

Join Curator Lauren Gutsell and artists Dan Arps and Glen Hayward who will give an overview of their art practices. These artists have work in the exhibition Light Switch & Conduit: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection.





Cath Cocker artist talk

Artist talk.

Catherine Cocker  at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Sunday 12 June at 3pm. Free.

Cath Cocker will be discussing the process of creating her fountain project in the Octagon, specifically for Matariki. A walk down to the fountains will follow the talk. All welcome.




 He waka eke noa | Milford Galleries Dunedin. Preview 5:30pm Friday 6 May. All welcome.

He Waka Eke Noa celebrates the diverse artistic voices of twelve Māori contemporary artists as well as recognising that commonalities may arise from shared experiences of indigeneity. The stories told by each artist encompass multiple cultural standpoints: there is no singular, artistic voice that represents a homogenous Māori ‘culture’. Artworks become sites where alternate histories, identities, and spaces are contested. Issues of gender, sexualities, politics, and spirituality are just a few of the narratives that are presented in the works of He Waka Eke Noa. The role of painterly abstraction, space and volume, figurative representation, and the visual experiences of light and shadow are likewise explored.



Dada 100 years on, (first exhibition, March 1916 in Zurich).

These are some images from the of the Dunedin exhibition/performance pop-up event instigated by the Otago Sculpture Trust

This was an addition to a work by Phillipa Wilson. Part of an installation of table/chair/foliage chandelier, bullet cartridges and other items. A violinist from the Dunedin Symphonia came and played beside her installation. The balloon was later released to fly away.




James Dignan; Sarajevo Bosnia 1993-Kobani Syria 2015

James Dignan Sarajevo Bosnia 1993 + Kobani Syria 2015


 Louisa Baillie; Forever the Leaves Rustle







Blue Oyster performance workshop in March

A performance-workshop-performance with Mark Harvey

Becoming productive beings in a pre-turquoise world that involves: group actions, material processing, volunteering and a hint of bureaucratic paperwork and mark making.

Artists, performance artists, movers, shakers, audience members and passersby alike are welcome to participate in any capacity over the duration of the workshop at the Blue Oyster, which will eventually lead to all participants becoming turquoise over three stages with a personal temporary transformation.

Workshop Programme
Stage 1: Friday 4 March, 10am – 4pm
Stage 2: Saturday 5 March, 10am – 1pm
Stage 3: Saturday 5 March, 2pm – 5pm

Blue Oyster and around Dunedin City

Workshop is free to attend
Participants interested are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

To sign up email Chloe: director@blueoyster.org.nz or call 03 479 0197.




UDB (Urban Dream Brokerage) is calling for submissions for ‘dynamic art or design ideas’ to fill vacant spaces in Dunedin.

Join a public meeting at Fringe HQ 26 Princes St, Wednesday 10 Feb, 5:30-6:30pm.

UDB broker is Tamsin Cooper; udbdunedin@gmail.com


Introducing 2016 Blue Oyster Summer Resident: Ana Iti.

Both the Blue Oyster Gallery and the Caselberg Trust are delighted to be supporting Ana with this opportunity to work in Dunedin over the summer.

Since graduating from Ilam with a BFA (Sculpture) in 2012, Ana Iti (Ngāpuhi) has maintained an active studio practice in Christchurch. Ana’s current practice explores the speculative possibilities of ‘drawing’ using sculpture and installation along with physical and social architectures.



++ Interesting what you find hidden in the depths of a box which contains stuff from the past…and how with more experiences and an evolving (and I use the term loosely) local situation, and a broadened personal context, a writing becomes more relevant.

I’ve been rereading a text by Lucy R. Lippard titled, ‘Looking Around | Where We Are | Where We Could Be,’ which was originally published in 1995, in Lacy: Mapping the Terrain, and formed part of my reading for Stage 4 Art Theory, “Studio Theory and Research Seminar” in 1997.

Apologies for my informal mixture of paraphrasing and citations, but here we go. Lippard in the early sections (pp 114-117) was discussing relationships between  people and place and how they affect our understanding of history and the future, and that ‘culture and the concept of place are quite inseparable’.  She looks at questions we might ask about where we live, how we came to be where we are, and what that place represents.  She cites Wendell Berry, “the concept of country, homeland, dwelling-place becomes simplified as ‘the environment’- that is, what surrounds us. Once we see our place , our part of the world as surrounding us, we have already made a profound division between it and ourselves.” Lippard continues, ‘….the study of place offers access to experience of the land itself (and what we call “nature”) as well as to current ecological politics and a sense of responsibility for the future.’

She cites Jeff Kelly as someone who distinguished the notion of place from that of site, a term which became popular in the later sixties with ‘site-specific’ sculpture “….a site represents the constituent physical properties of a place…while places are the reservoirs of human content”

Curiously if we ‘know our place’, what does that mean?

The original article is available as a PDF on-line.




Milford Galleries Dunedin

Please join Milford Galleries for the opening preview of their new exhibitions Friday 23rd October from 5:30pm. Paul Dibble will be present.

Seemingly caught mid-movement, Paul Dibble’s masterful geometric figures are playful, sensuous and imbued with individual personalities.

Constantly transforming with light refraction and reflection, Lorraine Rastorfer’s new paintings create moments of visual magic and wonder.

18 Dowling Street, Dunedin, Phone (03) 477 7727  www.milfordgalleries.co.nzinfo@milfordhouse.co.nz

Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm & Sat 11am to 3pm



Baxter memorial step closer


Peter Nicholls' design. Images supplied.Lawrie Forbes/Stuart Griffiths' design.
Peter Nicholls’ design. Images supplied.

There is little in Dunedin to recognise the stand that conscientious objector Archibald Baxter, who was from Brighton, took during World War 1.

Civic acknowledgement is now a step closer with the selection of three finalists in a competition to build a memorial in the Otago Museum Reserve.

Organised by the Archibald Baxter Memorial Trust, its aim was to honour Mr Baxter and his companions in a reflective sculptural setting, offering visitors a chance to contemplate their sacrifice and consider alternatives to war, trust honorary secretary Alan Jackson said.

”At present, there is no memorial in New Zealand to Baxter, or indeed any of the country’s conscientious objectors in any war.”

The Otago farm labourer was one of 14 conscientious objectors deported to the Western Front on the troopship Waitemata.

He was subjected to threats and physical abuse for his refusal to serve in the army.

His punishment included the brutal Field Punishment No 1 – he was placed in restraints and attached to a fixed object, such as a gun wheel or a fence post, for up to two hours a day.

Mr Jackson said the three finalists were chosen from a strong field after a rigorous selection process.

They are sculptor Peter Nicholls, of Dunedin; the Baxter Design Group, of Queenstown (no relation to Archibald’s family); and metal engineer and sculptor Lawrie Forbes and sculptor Stuart Griffiths, both of Dunedin, who submitted a joint entry.

Nicholls’ memorial submission consists of a metal structure surrounded by garden.

The Baxter Design Group submission consists of a pathway from the centre of the reserve to a garden, with several sculptures, which mirrors the journey Mr Baxter took towards Field Punishment No 1.

The Forbes/Griffiths submission consists of a ring-shaped structure with a quote by Mr Baxter on the wall: ”Passive resistance to evil is the power that will yet conquer the world”.

Each finalist had received $1500 to advance their design and they had until January 31 next year to complete their revised submissions before a winner was selected.

The judging panel included trust members, Baxter family members, Dunedin City Council representatives and the Otago Polytechnic Dunedin School of Art.

”The winner will receive $15,000 to develop the design to the final stage with every i dotted and t crossed,” Mr Jackson said.

The trust hoped the memorial would be in place by March 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of Mr Baxter’s arrest in Dunedin.





We are now accepting entries for the $30,000 acquisitive 2016 Montalto Sculpture Prize.

Entries are online.

Entries close on Friday 30 October at midnight. To enter click here.

You can also view terms and conditions and key dates on the website, together with general information about the prize and an image archive of previous years’ works.

This year, the 2016 MSP Exhibition, will be open for 8 months from 28 February – 30 October. Previously 3 months, this extension gives our finalists a longer period of time for their work to be on display to thousands of visitors wandering our Estate.

If you have any queries, please fee free to reply email.

We’ve asked 2014 winner Adam Stone to reflect on his work that won and explain how the prize helped his career, which you can read at http://montalto.com.au/artist-reflects-on-sculpture-prize-win/.


Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove
33 Shoreham Road
Red Hill South
Victoria 3937, Australia
Tel +61 3 5989 8412www.montalto.com.au



FREE GUIDED WALKING TOUR OF ‘IN THE CHURCH YARD’ Contemporary Sculpture in the Grounds of First Church;

Saturday 31 May 2015 at 1pm. Bring a brolly if wet.


4-WITH-TITLESPhoto credit: Tim Hawkins


Free catalogues available in Church foyer

 APRIL 25 – MAY 31 2015

MORGAN JONES                    STEPHEN MULQUEEN                NICOLA JACKSON               PHILIPPA WILSON

BRYN JONES                           STUART GRIFFITHS                     PETER NICHOLLS                PAM MCKELVEY


Media release    27.3.15

These are contemporary times and the sculpture in this exhibition reflects such aspirations too, where the link to the theme is not so obvious and demands further consideration. Although in general the sculpture is not site specific per-se, the sculptors have made work with particular sites in mind. The monumental presence of Lawson’s Neo Classical First Church building cannot be ignored either, as it was placed on an open site to be seen from far and wide as the prominent iconic form of the city. The expansive grounds still allow the Church the space to be viewed in its entirety in an encroaching modern city, and these grounds have also created the ideal space to place view sculpture in a contemplative haven in the city.

Stuart Griffiths

Project coordinator



First%20Church The Otago Sculpture Trust and First Church are supporting this exhibition.

The sculpture has been funded by the sculptors.

For any further information on the work and artists exhibiting in this exhibition,

please contact Stuart Griffiths, 0274776047 or cargillst@xtra.co.nz






Please join Milford Galleries Dunedin for the opening preview of new exhibitions on Friday 10th April from 5:30pm.

Black Red

Auckland-based artist, Te Rongo Kirkwood (Waikato, Taranaki, Wai o hua, Te Kawerau, Ngai Tai ki Tamaki) works with fused glass, textile, and other media to create objects that blur the lines between sculpture, craft, and personal adornment. Kirkwood has been working in glass for over 8 years and has been regularly exhibiting within New Zealand and abroad since 2009. She is a three-time finalist in the prestigious Ranamok Glass Awards, and her work sits in the private collection of the Awards’ founder.




Call for Applications: The Blue Oyster is looking for a new Gallery Administrator Part-Time Administrator ….to join their small team. As a stepping-stone into arts administration, this role will provide opportunities to learn and experience all aspects of gallery practice within a contemporary and experimental project space environment.

Application Deadline: 5pm Friday 27 February 2015

Blue Oyster Art Project Space 16 Dowling Street, Dunedin www.blueoyster.org.nz




Two large plane trees will be removed from the Octagon on 26 and 27 January 2015.

The trees are in poor health and their removal was signalled late last year.

Dunedin City Council Group Manager Parks, Recreation and Aquatics Mick Reece says, “The trees are being removed because, despite an ongoing programme over the past few years to increase the health of all the plane trees, the condition of these two trees has rapidly declined. They now need to be removed for safety reasons.”

In order to limit disruption to businesses and the public, the work is scheduled to take place from 7pm each night. Part of the road through the Octagon will be closed while the work is carried out.

Before this work can proceed, the irrigation system needs to be disconnected from the trees being removed. This will take place during the day on Wednesday, 21 January and means the footpath on the lower side of the carriageway will be closed off at times.


Contact details

Contact Group Manager Parks, Recreation and Aquatics on 03 477 4000.





At the DUNEDIN PUBLIC ART GALLERY and monument bus tour with Jock Philips!

July 18 Fri 1.30pm INSIGHTFULtour forthe blind and visually impaired of the Paul Maseyk ceramics exhibitionOne Pot WonderGuide dogs welcome.

The usual 2pm tour ofANZAC: Laurence Aberharton Saturday andBelovedat 2pm on Sunday.

Queen Vic JusticeThere are still places left on the bus tour:

July 19 2014 Sat 1-3.30pmBUS TOUR OF MONUMENTS.Jock Phillips,historian and author and specialist on World War I monuments will take visitors on a bus tour of some of the First World War memorials in the Dunedin City precincts. $5 Cash only. To book please phone 4743249.

20 Sun 3pmNew Zealand Sculptors and the war memorial.Jock Phillips, historian and co-author with Chris Maclean ofThe Sorrow and the Pride: NZ War Memorialsand essayist in the new publicationAnzac: Photographs by Laurence Aberhartinvestigates the sculptors who worked on the First World War memorials represented by Aberhart�s photographs.


Opening preview of ‘Significant Works’ this Friday 4th July from 5:30pm, at Milford Galleries Dunedin. 18 Dowling Street, Dunedin, Phone (03) 477 7727Paul Dibble

Significant Works is a museum standard exhibition featuring pre-eminent New Zealand artists and works of artistic significance. Rare & important works across all media are showcased alongside major new works which have been produced specifically for this exhibition.

www.milfordgalleries.co.nz – info@milfordhouse.co.nz

Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm & Sat 11am to 3pm




OPEN STUDIO; Last two wekends of June

Peter NichollsAs I am vacating my studio as from the end of July 2014 I am holding an OPEN STUDIO on the last two weekends of June.

June 21-22 10.30 to 3.30pm                                   June 28-29 10.30 to 3.30pm

The studio is located at the Roslyn Storage, 229 Kaikorai Valley Road opposite SHELL (Z).  North of the intersection with the bottom of Stone Street.

Drive through main entrance, then under a long ramp, left over a green bridge, past Fortune Theatre workshop, stop past last building.

Please contact me if needed. 4710068, 022 1640 456.

Peter Nicholls.



19 July Sat 1-3.30pm BUS TOUR OF MONUMENTS. Jock Phillips, historian and author and specialist on World War I monuments will take visitors on a bus tour of some of the First World War memorials in the Dunedin City precincts. $5 Cash only. To book please phone 4743249.



                        Ali Bramwell at Blue Oyster Gallery, Dowling Street

Attachment Drawing:Interface  

Ali Bramwell dwg interface


  Wednesday 4 – Saturday 28 June 2014. Opening Preview: Tuesday 3 June, 5.30pm

Go to the Blue Oyster this Tuesday for the Dunedin based artist Ali Bramwell’s solo exhibition ‘Attachment Drawing: Interface’. Since 2000, Ali Bramwell has been working as a sculptor, installation and performance artist both nationally and internationally. Influenced by performative concepts within a sculptural field, her practice explores kinetically speculative experiences through the use of tactile materials.

As an activated sound sculpture, ‘Attachment Drawing: Interface’ experiments with social metaphor and mechanical production, exploring inbuilt possibilities of failure and ephemeral solutions. Ali Bramwell (b. 1969) gained a Masters in Fine Art from the Dunedin School of Art in 2001. She has exhibited in Japan, China, The Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia, Bosnia, South Korea and New Zealand, with permanent sculptural works in Germany and Georgia. In 2011 Bramwell was awarded artist in residence at Slovenia’s Centre for Contemporary Art Celje. A text by Zach Williams will accompany the exhibition.


paltiyaNew clay material- demonstrations in Oamaru, Saturday 31 May.

Hello, my name is Kim Beaton and I am a sculptor of 20 years experience. In the past 17 months my husband and I have developed a new kind of sculpting material, called Pal Tiya. It is a clay that, when cured, is 7 times stronger than concrete and doesn’t need to be fired. It is air hardening.

We have been invited by some friends to spend the weekend in Oamaru. Because of this we are running two demonstrations of our clay, at the Souk Market, Oamaru Club, 32 Severn Street on Saturday 31 May. If you, or any of your other sculptors would like to come and see, our demonstrations will be at 11am and 1 pm.

There are pictures of what we have done on our new Website.http://www.PalTiya.com

Warren and I have also completed a very large sculpture with Pal Tiya that is now at the Wellington Zoo.

I look forward to hearing from you,                                                                                      Kim Beaton.                                                                                                                   Unit 14, 1 Duchess Place Maupuia 6022,                                                                        Wellington, New Zealand
















Pam McKelvey, one of the featured artists in the  Olveston sculpture exhibition, sketching in details ahead of painting on her  ‘Hut For Dorothy’ sculpture work.



$100k prize on offer for public sculpture

The organisers of a competition to produce a significant contemporary public sculpture for South Invercargill are expecting the $100,000 prize will attract national and international entries. The competition brief is available at www.southalivesculpture.comallison


Blue Oyster International Art Fair

The Blue Oyster Arts Trust has announced the return of this infamous and highly competitive and highly anticipated fairIt features 10 artworks by 10 internationally renowned artists, don’t miss your chance to collect a one-off work of art at the ludicrous price of only $500 each. At the Salisbury Boutique, 104 Bond Street Dunedin Saturday 5 April 2014, doors open 5.30pm

How the Fair works: Simply place your name beside an artwork to go into the draw to purchase it. You may enter the draw for as many works as you are interested in but you may win only one. Entries for all works will close at 7.00pm and the winners will be drawn at 7.30pm. Works can only be purchased on the night, so you’ll have to be in to win!

Two limited edition t-shirts designed by Catherine Griffiths will also be available to purchase for $50 each, designed in celebration of reaching the gallery’s 15th year. T-shirts will be available to purchase in a range of sizes over the evening and at the Blue Oyster from this Monday 31 March.

Culinary Artist Alan Baxter will be catering the event, floral design by Estelle Flowers. A complimentary glass of wine will be provided on the door, with a cash bar inside.


After the recent move to 16 Dowling Street, Blue Oyster has a new Director Director – Chloe Geoghegan: BFA PGDip.

The previous director, Jamie Hanton, has left to take up a fixed-term position as Art Collections Curator at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, after three years of directing the Blue Oyster. Dr Jonathan W. Marshall, a long-serving member of the Blue Oyster Board of Trustees, said the gallery had continued to develop and expand under Hanton’s directorship.

“The Blue Oyster was founded as an artist cooperative in 1999, and has gone on to become an important public institution in the South Island,” Marshall explained. “We are the most established project space in the Otago region, and routinely feature artists from Australia and other locations, as well as New Zealand and Dunedin. The Board has been working hard for many years looking at ways to improve our profile and to secure a space which is more conducive to our long term goals. Jamie has been instrumental in facilitating this change, and he will be sorely missed by the Board, the Dunedin community, and by the many artists whose work he has so ably supported whilst he has been here.”


Otago Daily Times ARCHIVE, 12th August 2005

You can’t keep a good sculpture down by Katrina Megget

newspaper article: You can't keep a good sculpture down

A spinning, hypnotic sculpture has come out of hiding and been returned to where it belongs. Five years ago, the sculpture was removed from the foyer of Dunedin Hospital. But former Dunedin artist Derek Ball has spent the past two weeks restoring his 3m-high piece, which was created to disguise a concrete pillar 25 years ago when the ward block opened.

Mr Ball was pleased to have the opportunity to modify the sculpture, made from PVC drainpipe, heated and twisted acrylic, wood, glass and metal. The one-way reflective glass has gone, meaning the stacked object impression is lost. The lights, too, have disappeared.

Mr Ball called it a “leap of faith”, but was pleased with the outcome. “It’s supposed to be a celebration. It’s something you look at and keep your mind off things”.

Hospital art advisory committee chairwoman Judith Medlicott was delighted with the installation. “I think it’s just wonderful, just great. It’s so funky, so clever, such fun.”

Kinetic sculpture


2013 Artist / Writer Speed Dating event, Tuesday 17 September at 6:00pm

The Blue Oyster is proud to announce its involvement in this event hosted by the Otago University Students Association speed datingas part of Art Week.

This event is a wonderful chance for artists and writers to meet, network, and develop opportunities to collaborate. Whether you’re an artist looking for a catalogue essay, a writer with an interest in visual arts, or someone who just wants to meet like-minded people, get in touch with Briar Holt at the Blue Oyster and register. Briar can be contacted on admin@blueoyster.org.nz or 03 479 0197.

Registration is essential and there are limited spaces available. The event is filling up quickly, so please get in touch as soon as possible!

Location: Main Common Room, University Union Building
Time: 6:00 – 7.30pm, Nibbles and refreshments provided.




Judy Darragh – Pinewood Bend 2013

Saturday 31 August – Saturday 28 September 2013 at Blue Oyster’s new premises in 16 Dowling Street

New paintings and floor works by Auckland-based artist Judy Darragh this Friday. Given Darragh’s history of exhibiting and being involved in the New Zealand project space environment, it is both extremely fitting and an honour to re-launch the Blue Oyster with a body of her new work.

Pinewood Bend 2013 is a development of Darragh’s recent work, where PVC banners that once advertised movies in cinema foyers have been altered with paint, tape and aerosol spray. Like portals opening, the forms in these works offer a hint of the altered and the alternative.

The floor works in Pinewood Bend are aluminium tubing, bent and wrapped with bandage-like material, which bulge and swell. Some have footwear inner soles attached suggesting walking, footprints or alluding to a journey. As Darragh states:

The forest has been a mythological site, a walk into the unknown, where we can confront our fears, once we overcome them we return transformed… we never know what is around the bend.










31 Aug – 25 Sept at Milford Galleries Dowling St Dunedin




Gardens Sculpture Debacle.

The Worm

What follows is what the OST actually sent to the ODT and which was misrepresented by the newspaper in the Saturday’s (10 Aug) edition. We can only presume that Mick Reece’s disrespectful response as reproduced in that article was to the full text as reproduced below.As the ODT was unable to print this letter, we can at least publish it here!

Feel free to BLOG  and share this.

Open letter to the DCC and Otago Daily Times regarding the Garden’s Commemorative Sculpture commissioning process.

The recent Dunedin City Council commissioning process for the city’s Botanic Garden’s 150th Commemorative Sculpture has become a farce, and the Mayor has the audacity to say “I challenge anyone to come up with a different way of doing it”.

When the original commission was taken away from a local artist on the misplaced grounds that he was an “out-of-town artist” and then given to an “out-of-town artist”, despite the Council clearly stipulating that the commission should be given to a local artist, it is indicative of a process that is ‘going off the rails.’

The subsequent rushed commissioning process begun by the DCC, beggars belief. To paraphrase the DCC, ‘Hey, drop whatever you are currently doing; you have three weeks to come up with detailed documentation and well illustrated concepts for a Dunedin Botanic Garden 150th commemorative sculpture’.

The brief clearly stated that expressions of interest must be site specific, fully developed and budgets submitted would not exceed an inflexible $60,000, this included installation costs and any artist’s fee’. Some very experienced artists were deterred by this tight timeframe and budget, but 19 gave it their best shot.

With 9 days before deadline for submission, a significant alteration was made to the commission’s brief ‘The stipulated commemorative text no longer needs to be set into the sculpture, so forget about the commemorative weighting in the original brief’. It is now known that many artists who submitted proposals did not receive this additional change to the brief, and were unaware they could make a stand-alone sculpture that did not have to be a commemorative monument.

When the successful proposal was announced, the council declared, ‘Oh we have increased the budget to $100,000 because we don’t want a “supermarket-shelf sculpture,” and that $60,000 figure was only an indicative price.’ This being in direct contradiction to the artists brief.

The Council in declaring this dramatic change to the original budget in its legal and binding tender, is clearly riding rough-shod over it’s own public and ethical procedures and treating the 19 contributing artists with absolute disdain. To date no sincere attempt has been expressed by the DCC to explain the rationale or irrational means behind this wayward shifting of the goal posts, other than ‘we had a clause that said we can ultimately do what we like’. An apology could be at least be attempted but is most likely some way off.

“A question raised is whether the DCC was in private consultation with the successful artist during the commissioning process as it seems incredible that an artist would risk being out of pocket for $40,000, when the brief clearly said the DCC would not increase their budget for any component of the design, fabrication or installation of the sculpture”.

The Council’s inept handling of this clumsy commissioning process is not their first flawed sculpture commission, and again demonstrates that they and their so-called ‘panel of experts’ have little knowledge of the territory they are working in, even though looking at the list of selectors one might have expected better.

The Council has a history of causing unnecessary bureaucratic delays in previous public art projects, which have lead to rushed deadlines and have consequently created unreasonable compromises to the resulting sculptures, then leaving the artist to hang out to dry when anything goes wrong.

A good example of this Council inclination to compromise artists is seen with ‘The Harbour Mouth Molars’ sculpture by Regan Gentry, which if administered better by DCC project managers might have allowed the artist to implement his original vision to locate the teeth in tidal waters, the context in which this sculpture installation was designed to work in. But the Council at its most impenitent failed dismally and couldn’t find the will or the way to obtain a resource consent to allow this site to be realised. Would he ever want to be involved with the DCC again?

Many questions remain about the delivery of the selected sculptural concept for the Botanic Garden within the unreasonably short three month completion deadline. Will it require making compromises to the design? Perhaps the DCC will just blatantly break another one of their stipulations in its brief that the work must be completed in the time frame given, and will they provide more money if need be, as they seem at liberty to do so to be able to realise what is a challenging commission.

At a recent meeting the Otago Sculpture Trust facilitated a gathering of disaffected artists who had submitted proposals for the Dunedin Botanic Garden’s 150th Commemorative Sculpture, and other concerned artists and organisations.

All voiced their displeasure at the DCC’s handling of the process and agreed that the council must cease the current rushed process, and re-advertise the commission showing an even playing field and realistic timeframe. With the additional,[delete comma] $40,000 on the table, all submitting and many other artists would have the opportunity to present new proposals showcasing their best work, from which we can guarantee that the selection panel will have more than ‘one stand out’ sculpture for them to consider, as they stated was the case with the last failed commissioning process.



Blue Oyster re-opening Friday 30 August at 5.30pm  YES.

The Blue Oyster Arts Trust is extremely happy to announce that its project space will be moving premises in August. The space will re-open on Friday 30 August 5.30pm at 16 Dowling Street. This shift will increase the visibility and accessibility of the organisation’s activities, as well as place the Blue Oyster in the vicinity of a number of Dunedin’s established contemporary dealer galleries and artists’ studios.

Judy Darragh’s Pinewood Bend 2013 will be the first exhibition in the new space. The Auckland-based artist was a founding member of pioneering New Zealand artist-run project space, Teststrip, and has constantly been at the forefront of experimental art in New Zealand. It is a pleasure and very fitting to have Judy re-open the Blue Oyster.

Renovations of the new premises are currently underway and are generously supported by the Otago Community Trust and Placemakers Dunedin. While renovations continue we are proud to present new work by Christchurch-based artist Francis van Hout in the front window of the Dowling Street space. We are also presenting an offsite exhibition of Celia Wilson’s work at the Visitor Centre of the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Stay tuned for more details on these exhibitions.

DID YOU SUBMIT A SCULPTURE PROPOSAL TO THE DUNEDIN BOTANIC GARDEN 150TH COMMEMORATIVE? The Otago Sculpture Trust needs to hear from you. We intend to facilitate this group being properly represented in the media, and represented to a council which has been disrespectful to the artists involved, and hard-nosed in their dealings with this issue!

!    !   !   !  !  !   !  !   !  !   !    !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !   !  Please contact us on 027 2659676. A text is fine, and include your contact details.



 From ODT Online Edition Tue, 2 Jul 2013

Home » News » Dunedin, By Debbie Porteous

Peter Nicholls

Peter Nicholls.

Some Dunedin sculptors are questioning the professionalism of the selection process for Dunedin’s latest piece of public art.

There remains, too, it is claimed, the potential for a legal challenge.

The price-tag for the 15.5m-long worm sculpture Ouroboros, to be installed at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, is $100,000, $40,000 more than the Dunedin City Council said it would pay the winning artist.

The sculpture, by Julia Morison, of Christchurch, has been selected to commemorate the garden’s 150th birthday and is to be paid for with money bequeathed to the botanic garden.

Sculptors Peter Nicholls, a board member and former chairman of the Otago Sculpture Trust, and Stuart Griffiths, an associate of the trust, said while they both liked the idea of the selected work, the process was ”suspect” and disappointing. Griffiths designed the original rejected proposal for the garden. It was resubmitted unsuccessfully.

The process had been rushed, the brief changed a week before deadline and paying the selected artist more than the brief disadvantaged other submitters, the sculptors said.

The Worm

A concept drawing of the worm




Council parks and recreation services manager Mick Reece said the request-for-proposal (RFP) condition – that the maximum budget for the work was $60,000, including artist’s fees, and that ”price escalations will not be considered” – was actually an ”indication”, rather than a firm budget.

He said the cost would be about $70,000 for the worm sculpture itself, although some details were still to be finalised.

An additional artist fee of about $30,000 would give the council ownership of the work.

Asked about the RFP apparently being so clear on the budget, he said the RFP gave a ”clear indication” of the budget and the council was ”looking for a work of art, not something off a supermarket shelf that fits a price tag”.

He also understood, from the evaluation panel that selected the piece, that the $30,000 artist fee was ”appropriate and very good value”.

Mr Reece said many of the 16 proposals had fallen outside the indicated budget, and some suggested different sites.

”We didn’t dismiss those because they didn’t comply.”

The price was only one of many criteria outlined in the RFP, and, based on all the criteria, the worm was the clear winner.

”It was as unanimous [a decision] as any I’ve ever been involved with.”

Morison would be coming to Dunedin soon to establish the practical aspects of the project, including to ”confirm absolutely” the high-tensile stainless steel for the sculpture was going to stand up to the weather.

The sculpture’s price would not affect the rest of the project – the extension of the Clive Lister Garden – for which about $100,000 of funds bequeathed remained.

”We are looking for a point of difference, which the public can engage with in a different way, and [the sculpture’s] already doing a brilliant job.”

Nicholls was shocked to hear the final selection would cost $100,000.

”If other people had known the budget was going to be higher than that [$60,000], they would have been more creative and probably submitted a different brief,” he said.

Griffiths said changing the brief from a standard council contract to one with more artistic licence a week before submissions closed, was also suspicious.

”That was hugely unprofessional.”

He said both that and the increase in budget made him question if the panel was in negotiations with the artist before the selection.

Otherwise, the artist would not have risked submitting a $100,000 proposal, knowing it would be rejected or they would lose $40,000.

”It would not be surprising if one of the unsuccessful artists decides to contest the decision on a legal basis.”

The whole process needed to be revisited, he said.



Request for Proposal (RFP) from Dunedin City Council

Dunedin Botanic Garden 150th Anniversary

Commemorative Artwork

No. 3658

Closing Date: 12pm Friday 14 June 2013


Kia ora, Hi Everyone

Please see the request for proposal for the Dunedin Botanic Gardens commemorative artwork. The timing is very tight with three weeks starting today from concept to detailed construction methodology, but it is worth $60k. If you know of anyone who may be interested and able to respond to this timeframe please forward to them. If you have any questions please direct them to Mick Reece 03 474 3569 or email mreece@dcc.govt.nz.


Sculpture installed in South Dunedin CBD

Created as a pair, the sculptures are diagonally opposite each other and form a visual and metaphorical link across the main thoroughfare of South Dunedin.

The project was facilitated by Peter Christos from DCC Urban Design. Casting work was originally offered to the Hillside workshops, however they were unable to proceed with the design concept by Jess Dobson, (a student at the Otago Polytechnic Design School). The project was then offered to Lawrie Forbes, who saw a way to fabricate the work from specially curved 8mm steel tubing sections. Lawrie describes the fabrication and weight of the work as having suggestions of the Hillside railway workshops industrial processes, while the central ‘manifold’ component has resonances of vehicles and transport.

On 25 May, Lawrie gave an informal talk to members of the Otago Sculpture Trust.

Lawrie Forbes with members of the OST alongside one part of the sculptural pair.St-Dn-sculpture-group-shot-cropped


Cargill monument in reconstruction

Cargill’s Monument Progress Update, May 2013. Contributed by stonemason Marcus Wainright

At this stage of the project, as a stonemason I stand back and let the engineers and structural engineers do their job – mainly inserting steel. Six meter deep piles were installed on all four sides. These will then be connected to heavy cross beams. From there 20mm thick rods will extend further up in the monument.
Whilst this seismic strengthening seems to offer the monument the best protection with virtually no visual impact, the level of work is quite intrusive – I cannot say that it is uplifting, but simply very necessary.
Hopefully within the next fortnight we will be able to commence with the reassembling of the monument.


7 pm Tuesday 14 May 2013 Burns Hall, First Church, Moray Place. Where House? Adaptive reuse of buildings in Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct

A presentation by Michael Findlay, well-known historian, former museum curator,
now Professional Practice Fellow in Applied Sciences at Otago University

Southern Heritage Trust

12 Royal Terrace, Dunedin 9016
New Zealand
Phone: (03) 471 8265


The Race

11 May – 5 June 2013

Milford Galleries Dunedin http://www.milfordgalleries.co.nz/

HANNAH KIDD, The Silver Bullet (2013)

mild steel, corrugated iron, paint WORK IN PROGRESS


Dunedin based sculptor Scott Eady invited to 2013 Venice Biennale

Scott is a Senior Lecturer in Sculpture at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.  He has had a number of high profile exhibitions of late. His 100 Bikes Project (Part II) was selected for the Gwangju Biennale last year, Asia’s longest running Biennale widely considered the most avant garde of all Biennales. In 2012 Scott exhibited his 100 Bikes Project (Part I) at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

sculptor_scott_eady_at_the_dunedin_school_of_art_y_500e6a2f1c smllScott with some of the bikes which formed his 100 Bikes Project sculpture.

Scott will complete his Venice project over the next 5 – 6 weeks when it will be shipped to Italy. The cast bronze sculptures will be exhibited by the Global Arts Foundation in the Palazzo Bembo on the Grand Canal in Venice where it will occupy the inner courtyard.











OTHER RECENT NEWS:  Matt Pine’s Gateway has been relocated, from the entrance to the old Dunedin Public Art Gallery at Logan Park, to the Woodhaugh Gardens, north Dunedin.

One of the coordinators of the Gateway sculpture reloction project, consultant landscape architect Mick Field, commented that the sculpture was deliberately placed at the ‘gateway’ between two distinct landscapes – which are even defined as two separate and distinct reserves – one a Scenic Reserve the other a Recreation Reserve. The status of each is botanically as well as culturally significant – hence the underlying reason for this placement of the sculpture.


Photo: Mike O’Kane

The following article was first published inThe Star newpaper, March 7 2013.

The OTAGO SCULPTURE TRUST held a Public Art Performance and Discussion on Sunday 18th NOVEMBER 2012 between 1.30pm and 3.30pm

The event featured both a discussion and temporary installation centred on significant aspects of cultural exchange



The subject of our action was the poorly placed Edinburgh-Dunedin sculptured rock which is situated behind the North abutment of the Leith Bridge on Anzac Avenue, (close to the river’s boundary fence).  This Edinburgh Rock was placed as a commemoration of the sister city relationship between Edinburgh and Dunedin. A Dunedin rock was carved, delivered to Edinburgh and sited there. (Read more in the following editorial piece written by Nigel Benson for the Otago Daily Times newspaper).


Sculpture Trust still rocked by placement of Edinburgh stone

The following article is reproduced from the Otago Daily Times. Thu, 22 Nov 2012
Written by Nigel Benson
Otago Sculpture Trust members and supporters hold a re-unveiling of the Dunedin-Edinburgh Stone. Photo by Jane Dawber.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Otago Sculpture Trust members held a re-unveiling of the Dunedin-Edinburgh Stone. Photo by Gerard O’Brien.

The Dunedin City Council must feel as though it’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A commemorative stone marking the sister city relationship between Dunedin and Edinburgh has been blasted by leading Dunedin artists.

The Dunedin-Edinburgh Stone was sited between Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Water of Leith on November 22 last year, while a reciprocal stone from Dunedin was installed on the Edinburgh waterfront.

“The placement of the Dunedin stone, compared to Edinburgh, is pathetic. It’s an unconsidered installation,” Otago Sculpture Trust member Stephen Mulqueen said.

“The Dunedin stone is jammed up again the fence-line and can’t be fully appreciated by viewers. To experience any three-dimensional object, you have to be able to walk around it,” Mr Mulqueen said.

“Its placement is an embarrassment and it clearly fails to match the elegant placement of the sculpture on the Edinburgh quayside. The plaque also fails to mention the project’s instigator and maker, Sylvia Stewart.”

The project was conceived by Scottish sculptor Sylvia Stewart, who travelled to Dunedin in 1999 to select a basalt volcanic magma rock from the Water of Leith, which was installed at Rennies Isle in Leith on the Edinburgh waterfront.

She created the Aberdeenshire granite rock for Dunedin in 2007, to symbolise the historic cultural bond between the two cities.

Otago Sculpture Trust members and supporters placed a series of half circles around the sculpture last weekend to illustrate the problem with the installation.

“The rocks create a ripple around the artwork,” sculptor Peter Nicholls said. “When you throw a rock in water, you get concentric ripples. But the fence stops the ripples occurring around this work and the rocks show that. The fence negates the effect of a 3-D object by preventing people from moving around it.”

The Otago Sculpture Trust also held an unofficial “re-unveiling”.

Former DCC community life general manager Graeme Hall said the area where the rock was sited was planned as a sculpture area.

“We put it where it was considered appropriate and where it had a relationship with the Leith. Everybody we spoke to said it was a good idea, at the time.”


© 2011 Otago Sculpture Trust