Jae Kang (right), husband James (left) and volunteer Pete Howe struggle with the elements. Photo Geoff Cumming

The biennial event may encourage artists to respond to the Matiatia landscape but high winds have been the dominant influence this week as installation for headland Sculpture on the Gulf 2017 gets underway.
South-westerlies hammering the exposed peninsula have provided a test of stamina for artists, assistants, volunteers – and their works – just a week out from the exhibition’s sold-out gala opening on 26 January.
Among the pacesetters installing works with a prime view of the bay have been Kerikeri’s Chris Booth, renowned for his balancing acts with stone. For SOTG 2017, he’s tapped into Waiheke vineyards for raw material – sourcing discarded vines to build a kinetic fungi tower that will form a living sculpture.
Over on the headland, Jae Kang, husband James and volunteer Pete Howe, have been contorting irrigation pipe against the wind for Jae’s headland debut.
Up the hill, Robert Jahnke and assistant Hone Morris, both based at Massey University in Palmerston North, were building the base for neon installation Kaokao.
Local volunteers meanwhile were doing the heavy lifting for Dion Hitchens’ work Kotuku.
Cultural programmes manager Kelly Carmichael says the volunteers are the backbone of the event and are already putting in long hours. “We couldn’t do without the volunteers for installation, event marshalling, as art guides and in the pavilion. It’s amazing the way the community comes together to support this event and we are incredibly grateful.”
Up to 60,000 people are expected to walk the exhibition trail during the festival which is open to the public from
27 January until 19 February.
Geoff Cumming

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