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Visiting sculptor carves gift from Japanese sister-city

16 March 2004

World-renowned sculptor Professor Wataru Hamasaka, the Arts Centre Artist in Residence for March, is currently working at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) on a sculpture that is to be gifted to the city of Christchurch.

The Canoe in the Canoe – a 2.2 metre long stone carving featuring a smaller granite canoe inside it - will be given to Christchurch by our Japanese sister-city Kurashiki to mark the 30th anniversary of our sister-city relationship.

An anniversary sculpture has already been gifted to Kurashiki from Christchurch. ‘Lines Extending’ was installed in Kurashiki by Christchurch artist Graham Bennett in November 2003.

Professor Hamasaka says he chose the theme of canoes as a symbolic idea that Japan and New Zealand share.  “When one looks at the founding of New Zealand, you find that the canoe has great meaning.” This significance has continued from the canoes used by the early Maori settlers to New Zealand’s more recent America’s Cup success, he said. “Canoes have also been made in Japan since ancient times and appear often in Japanese myths.”

The outer canoe in Professor Hamasaka’s sculpture is made from basalt sourced from Timaru.  The smaller canoe is of granite found in the Tsurajima area of Kurashiki and has already been presented as a gift to Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore. It is designed to be floated inside the larger vessel for special events or celebrations.

Mark McEntyre, co-head of CPIT’s School of Art and Design said, “it is a great privilege to have someone of Professor Hamasaka’s outstanding skill and quality working with us.”

“He is providing a wonderful opportunity for our students to see how people from different cultures go about their work and the different concerns they have,” he said.

‘The Canoe in the Canoe’ will be exhibited at the Arts Centre, outside the Court Theatre, from 31 March, when it will be unveiled by Mayor Garry Moore.

On Sunday 21 March Professor Hamasaka will share his knowledge of sculpture at a lecture at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu Philip Carter Family Auditorium at 2pm.  All welcome.

Professor Hamasaka has already lectured at the CPIT’s School of Art and Design and the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts.

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