Boy Walking, a significant new work of public art, will be installed in Potters Park by Auckland Council and Albert-Eden Local Board in June.
Created by New Zealand-born and internationally-acclaimed artist Ronnie van Hout, the work stands 5.6 metres tall and depicts a child walking confidently towards a future of optimism and discovery.
Manager of Public Art at Auckland Council Emily Trent says: “We’re delighted this extraordinary new work aligns well with the character of the park.”
Potters Park was gifted to the city more than a hundred years ago by philanthropist Frederick Potter for local residents and especially children to enjoy.
Ronnie van Hout lived in Mt Eden near Dominion Road in his late twenties and early thirties and remembers the area well.
“Context is everything,” he says.
He says he is looking forward to seeing Boy Walking positioned among the trees and across the lawn from the children’s playground in Potters Park.
Van Hout says the figure is a confident young person in a liminal moment - a moment of transition and movement.
“In literal terms, this is an eleven or twelve-year-old child, but it could be anyone. We’re all constantly becoming. We’re always learning. Always moving forward.”
The artist says that, unlike pre-industrialised times when childhood was an undistinguished block of time, there are now many big moments or milestones for children.
“This movement out of childhood and into adulthood is a significant one. It’s a time that’s full of promise,” he says.
Albert-Eden Local Board has been a strong supporter of the arts in the area. Local Board Chair Peter Haynes supports the values behind public art.
“Public art enlivens our neighbourhoods, helps build a sense of identity and encourages connections in our communities,” he says.
Once the sculpture is in place in June, Dr Haynes says people travelling along Dominion Road won’t be able to miss it.
“We feel privileged to have this magnificent work placed in the heart of our community of Albert-Eden,” he says.
“We want this work to be seen. We want people talking about it. We hope that local children will be intrigued by the work and relate to it.”
“For me personally, this is the story of a young person of any ethnicity, any gender, any background – a child of our times carrying hope and optimism into the future,” he says.