This major atrium project by Auckland-based artist Sara Hughes, known for her dynamic installations and public works, references local architecture and histories relevant to Tauranga.
“I have a deep interest in the ways that art can interact and engage with site and add to people’s experience of place. Over the past fifteen years I have focused on working in site-specific contexts and examining the way people relate to art in their environment” says Hughes.
Willow, named after the street that separates, and connects, Tauranga Art Gallery with the council buildings opposite, invites visitors of all ages to interact with components of the work to encourage dialogue about the nature of our built environment. The installation is in constant change, bridging the inside and outside of the gallery and engaging ideas about how our spaces work.
For this installation Hughes has created an interactive component that invites visitors to build their own structures using blocks made in collaboration with the Mount Maunganui Menz Shed.
Hughes has substantial experience working on large artworks and installation pieces. Her practice has attracted significant attention throughout Australasia, winning both the Wallace Art Award and the Norsewear Art Award in 2005, whilst in 2008 she was the first New Zealand recipient of The RIPE: Art and Australia magazine Art Award.
She has been selected to participate in a number of notable residencies including the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, in 2007; and Creative New Zealand's Berlin Visual Artists Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien between 2008 and 2009.
Hughes' paintings and installations are held in many important Australasian public and private collections, including the Chartwell Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the University of Auckland Art Collection.
Willow: An installation by Sara Hughes is the inaugural project generously supported by the 500 Club, a group of like-minded arts patrons who each donate $500 towards the realisation of a specific Tauranga Art Gallery exhibition.
Top image: Sara Hughes, Colour Picker, 2016. Sutton Gallery Suite, Spring 1883, Melbourne