Beauty and the beast
Whether they identify with the steely gaze of the tuatara, or the grace of the female dancer, Palmerston North theatre-goers have something to stimulate the imagination before and after the latest shows.
Outside The Regent on Broadway Theatre, the newest in the city's series of sculptures – Paul Dibble's Who's Afraid – recreates a native lizard facing off against a female beauty in bronze.
It is hard to escape the parallels between the impassive and intent tuatara and the learned watcher of the arts.
Unveiled yesterday in front of about 150 people, it is the sixth sculpture out of 10 the Palmerston North Sculpture Trust hopes to place around the city.
Mr Dibble said he had been told where his work would be put, and from that came up with the idea.
"It's not terribly difficult. You've got to tie into the theatre. The piece is about theatre – it's an extension of theatre.
"When you're a performer, you really have to have a lot of courage and self-belief, because critics and the general public can be quite fierce."
Keeping with the theatre theme, Regent trustee Steve Parsons thinks the piece adds an appropriate level of drama to its site.
And the sculpture trust's Simon Barnett said works of art like Mr Dibble's could enliven an area and draw people there.
In his unveiling speech he recalled how, 23 years ago, he was running by the Manawatu River through the teachers' college.
He stopped at a previously barren space to find a steel sculpture created by Mr Dibble.
"What I'd looked at before – this empty space – was now filled with something that drew me in there."
Two decades later, Mr Barnett said it was with a feeling of pride that he watched the unveiling of the New Zealand war memorial in London's Hyde Park on television – a piece also created by Mr Dibble.
"As I sat there in Palmerston North, watching at three o'clock in the morning, I felt a lot of emotion...and I felt quite proud."
Mr Dibble said he was now working on "five little pieces" for next month's Auckland Art Fair.