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Waiuku art installation removed due to vandalism

Published: 12 December 2018

Vandals have damaged Waiuku artist Jae Kang’s sculpture at Kevan Lawrence Park so badly that it has had to be removed.

Whimori - a fast rhythm in Korea that implies energetic movement - was on temporary display because the artist wanted her own community to be able to experience the work, which featured in Waiheke Island’s Sculpture on the Gulf 2017.

Kang has been in Waiuku for almost 20 years, working in a commercial tomato growing operation, and her sculpture used recycled irrigation pipes and tubes from her greenhouses to form a work that appears as a scribble drawing from a distance, but as a curious tactile world up close.

Designed to move with weather events so that its appearance subtly changed over time, Whimori was meant to be touched, so it is possible that minor damage was accidental, and running repairs were always factored in.

But vandals broke off pieces of the work entirely. 

Franklin Local Board provided funding to help with installation costs through its arts programme, and member Sharlene Druyven is horrified for the artist. 

"Like all art, it’s not to everyone’s taste, but we were getting great feedback about how good it was to see public art in Waiuku, when we’ve never had anything like it before," she says.

"Somehow it just seems so much worse that it’s the work of one of our own, and Whimori was only there because Jae wanted to share with her community."

Kang was born in South Korea and is known for her large-scale gallery and outdoor public installations, and often makes pieces that encourage community participation, developing work people can touch.

Last year she made an ink drawing installation 'Wave of your breath' at Tauranga Gallery and developed an interactive installation 'Knot Touch' for children and disabled people at the New Zealand Maritime Museum.

She started this year with an exhibition 'A small step takes a big world' at Papakura Gallery, and participated in the Canberra Public Art Biennale. Now she is working on a commission for a public sculpture for Auckland Council and Sculpture on the Gulf 2019.

Kang has fine and creative arts degrees and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Elam School of Fine Art.

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Arts Franklin Community