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Albatross sculpture soars again

Published: 11 March 2021

The artwork Flight Support for Albatross has been missing from Auckland’s shoreline for years but this month it returns to land in a new home, on the Devonport side of the Waitematā.

For Auckland Councillor Chris Darby, the return of the important artwork by iconic New Zealand artist Greer Twiss is exciting.

“Flight Support for Albatross is a stunning piece of art. To see it reappear and soar high about the Waitematā is a real thrill.”

“I am delighted that its new home is in Devonport. It is great to see such a large and beautiful piece of artwork from an admired artist get re-homed here.”

The return of the artwork into the public arena after a seven-year absence is something the prominent New Zealand artist and sculptor of this work, Greer Twiss is happy about.

“The original 2004 work standing on the ferry wharf across the harbour was more restrictive, because of site clutter, so when we had to re-site it this seemed an opportunity to re-frame, make a more friendly work.  So, it is different, still a support structure though, and maybe the birds are happier.”

Emily Trent, Auckland Council’s Acting Manager for Arts and Culture, says that the renewal of Flight Support for Albatross highlights the importance of public art to Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Art reflects who we are. It shows the diversity of our people and generates pride and belonging. Art installed in public areas allows us to experience and enjoy thought-provoking arts and culture that is unique to Tāmaki Makaurau.”

When installed, Flight Support for Albatross will soar 10.5-metres above the wharf and will be visible from Devonport - and to those passing in ferries and boats. An accompanying exhibition and artist talk will be held at the nearby Depot Artspace Gallery to celebrate the work.

The artwork used to sit on Quay Street but was removed and placed in storage while strengthening work and development occurred on the waterfront. The move across the Waitematā will mean Flight Support for Albatross will be a feature for years to come.

The re-location was originally planned to be completed in June last year, but Emily Trent explains that delays have meant the installation could only occur now.

“The COVID-19 lockdowns and the resulting emergency budget review meant that we had to delay the installation but we are pleased that the sculpture is being installed now.

She says that Victoria Wharf is the perfect place for the relocation and locals can be excited at how stunning it will look.

“The result is something Devonport locals will be really proud of and I know that Flight Support for Albatross will become an icon of the area.”

For Councillor Darby the new site also makes a strong symbolic statement.

“With the Devonport Naval Base base nearby, it is a visual reminder of our sailors who spend long periods away at sea before returning home, so it feels very appropriate to be here.”

To find out more about Flight Support for Albatross by Greer Twiss, and other works in the public art collection across Tāmaki Makaurau, visit the Auckland Public Art website.

Read more: Arts North Shore

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