City invited to enjoy new artwork

"Enjoy it!" That is the message from artist Anton Parsons to the people of Palmerston North.

Auckland-based Mr Parsons is the man responsible for the city's newest artwork - a curved public sculpture on Coleman Mall due to be unveiled this weekend.

"It can be used as a seat. I think you could sit four people on it comfortably," he said.

Mr Parsons also anticipates children climbing on his work, and hopes Palmerston North residents will embrace the newest addition to the city's streetscape.

"People should see what they can get out of it," he said.

"I'm not alienating anyone. The public can come and see it, and enjoy it for what it is."

What it is, exactly, is up for debate.

The full piece will be unveiled to the public at 4pm on Sunday, but Mr Parsons offered a sneak peek of the snake-like construction.

Made of copper and stainless steel, the work is designed to stand up to the elements and complement its surroundings on the pedestrian street.

Mr Parsons has lost track of the amount of time he has invested in the project, but said "just to weld it up took 10 days".

"It's a process. You've got to operate within your environment, and it limits the things you can do.

"My worst nightmare would be the thing falling over.

"You don't want to kill anyone, after all."

The work was commissioned after Mr Parsons won a competition held by the Manawatu Public Sculpture Trust.

The trust, in co-operation with Palmerston North City Council, has raised $100,000 for public artwork around the western edge of The Square.

Mr Parsons said his contribution - the first of 10 to be erected - cost about $80,000, including freight from his Auckland base.

He was born and raised in Palmerston North, and attended Freyberg High School and Queen Elizabeth College before moving to Christchurch to attend art school.

He has previously constructed public artwork in Auckland and Wellington.

It doesn't always pay the bills, though, and Mr Parsons has to "supplement (my income) with . . . a bit of work in the film industry and commercials."

Read more in Ewan Sargents Opinion

Manawatu Standard