Sculpture Northland event at Quarry Gardens features over 100 works of art

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Tania Patterson is putting the finishing touches on her Kahu sculpture to prepare for Sculpture Northland. Photo / Tania Whyte

Whangārei Quarry Gardens will become a sculpture gallery this Friday for the Sculpture Northland showcase.

The gardens will showcase over 100 vibrant works of art by 50 talented Northland artists.

The annual exhibition has been running since 2008 and features a wide variety of sculptures made from a range of materials and techniques.

This year is curated by Dorothy McHattie, which brings together artists from across Northland to place their works between flowers and ferns.

Artist Tania Patterson created a sculpture of a Kahu (Marsh Harrier) for the event.

“The structure is steel, so I welded the steel frame, then worked on it with fiberglass, then painted it.”

Patterson trained as a jeweler and started carving after inheriting welding machines from her father eight years ago.

Contemporary Mozaic artist Pat George with his sculpture Yellow Bloom at Whangārei Quarry Gardens for Sculpture Northland.  Photo / Tania Whyte
Contemporary Mozaic artist Pat George with his sculpture Yellow Bloom at Whangārei Quarry Gardens for Sculpture Northland. Photo / Tania Whyte

Whangārei Quarry Gardens Trust chairwoman Jennie Kerr said the event had been canceled twice due to Covid, so it was great to finally get the show back on the road.

“We just want to bring the community to the gardens.”

During the last event in 2019, 10,000 people walked through the gardens over the 10 days and more than 60% of the works sold.

“It’s really just volunteers doing everything,” Kerr said.

Garden manager Guy Hessell looks after the garden and overseas volunteers, but reiterates that this is a community-driven project.

“Everyone has the same input, I like to call it flat management.”

Whangārei Quarry Gardens manager Guy Hessell stands side by side with one of this year's Sculpture Northland artworks.  Photo / Tania Whyte
Whangārei Quarry Gardens manager Guy Hessell stands side by side with one of this year’s Sculpture Northland artworks. Photo / Tania Whyte

All profits from the event are donated to the operation and development of the quarry gardens.

“The 2020 flood damage cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair and events like this help pay for it,” Hessell said.

The art exhibition comes as Quarry Gardens is also gaining recognition for its collection of fragrant camellias, which began 20 years ago.

“We now have 200 registered fragrant camellias in the gardens, enabling us to apply to have the collection recognized as an international collection,” Hessell said.

Lorraine Young overseas camellias from Whangārei Quarry Garden.  Photo / Tania Whyte
Lorraine Young overseas camellias from Whangārei Quarry Garden. Photo / Tania Whyte

Sculpture Northland will run from May 20-29 and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at Whangārei Quarry Garden.

Admission to the sculpting event is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 5-12, and free for children under 5.

The gardens are closed May 16-19 for the installation of the artwork.

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