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United We Fall

1 September 2008

Climb the stairs and walk around the first floor balcony of Christchurch Art Gallery’s foyer and you’ll find yourself accompanied along the way by a procession of high-intensity colours.  Together these colours make up United We Fall, an exciting new work by New Zealand artist Sara Hughes.

United We Fall is the result of a year spent by Hughes in America, where she was bombarded with news of the hotly contested Democratic Primary and the US occupation of Iraq.  Noticing the way colour was used in American politics to separate one opponent from another, Hughes resolved to put some well-known political colours to unexpected use.

She has used the 194 national flags recognised by the United Nations, stripped of their identifying symbols and randomly generated by computer programme, to create the spectrum of vivid colours that now engages visitors to the gallery. 

“Responding to the ways colour and power are intertwined, this work makes use of statistical data that relates to the colours of world flags.  I wanted to turn the Gallery foyer into a cascade of marching, pulsating, saturated colour that questions both the local and global space it occupies, says Sara Hughes.

Hughes has just been announced as holder of the 2008/9 Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artist’s Residency, giving her accommodation and studio space in Berlin, an exhibition at the end of the residence, as well as a living allowance.

“Sara Hughes is fast developing her skills and her networks - both here and overseas - and it is a privilege for Christchurch Art Gallery to have her work displayed in such a prominent way,” says Gallery Director Jenny Harper.  “She will make an impression on everyone who enters the Gallery foyer.”


United We Fallis the first commission in the ‘Glasshouse’ series, a programme of major works for the Christchurch Art Gallery’s foyer.


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