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Auckland artist Jay Hogan, left and Thames Public Art Trust trustee Rob Johnston installed the new sculpture on September 8. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Thames memories inspire new sculpture

A temporary sculpture inspired by warm memories of Thames is the newest to be installed by Thames Public Art Trust.
The 3-metre high corten steel and stainless steel sculpture, at the corner of Pollen and Campbell streets, was designed by Auckland artist Jay Hogan who now hopes the public’s interpretations of it would provide him with ideas for the sculpture’s name.
“It’s a new format for me to try something new and see what people’s opinions would be, but also to show people what calibre I’m at now and to be able to become noticed in Aotearoa for my skill set.
“I spend a lot of time in Thames with my daughter due to my mother bringing me here as a child and staying at various lodges and family baches and I thought the town could do with something very unique.
“I’d also gone through a lot of healing in the mountains of Thames and I was inspired by different koros and the sheer height of the sculpture incorporates the mountains.”
Thames Public Art Trust trustee Rob Johnston told The Profile the new sculpture, which was installed on September 8, was always part of the trust’s plan to have more temporary art in the town. “Jay was introduced to me through Fiona Cameron at the end of 2019, and he presented this particular work to us as an option and wondered whether we’d be interested, and we were,” he said.
“We had been in discussion with Thames-Coromandel District Council from around that time and really spent time ironing out the best place in town that it would go.
“So we finally got it on the ground after quite a while but it’s very satisfying to finally get it installed and I think it looks fantastic.”
Rob said the trust covered most of the project’s costs which included a $3000 to $4000 plinth, a roughly $1300 resource consent application fee and base preparation costs.
“We’ve also had people help us out generously with some of the other things that would have cost us money ourselves like engineering works from [Thames engineer] Nelson Valiant, who did the calculations,” he said.
“Then GDC Consultants Ltd checked them… and we’ve also had Rod Atkin from Watson Engineering who actually very generously lifted the plinth in for us at his cost, so he’s done us a favour there as well.”
Rob said the trust had a licence from council to occupy for two years.
“But these works are always owned by the artist, so it’s only a gift at the moment on loan.”
Jay said he planned to auction off the sculpture within the next 12 months and would donate 30 per cent of the proceeds to Thames Public Art Trust.
Rob said an official opening of the new sculpture would take place on September 17 at 11am, and is open to the public.
“Jay’s going to come down with family, his mentor and friends and the public art trust would do the same with our supporters and people that had chipped in and helped with this, so it should be a good little opening.”
Rob said he was also arranging an official reopening of the Colour Harmonics sculpture at Moanataiari to take place on the same day. The sculpture was reinstalled by the trust in December last year after high winds toppled it three months earlier.