Tree of Woodville pioneers to tower over town

Woodville's sculpture winner branches out

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 24/07/2013
Woodville tree
DAVID UNWIN/ Fairfax NZ
LOVELY LEAVES: Hinemoa Hori-Brown, 8, admires the winning model entrant, The Woodville Tree, for the new sculpture set to adorn Woodville streets later this year.
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Branching above Woodville soon will be a tree-themed artwork.

The town's inaugural sculpture competition has closed, the votes tallied, the judges' final comments considered and the winner has emerged as Raumati artist Bodhi Vincent and his The Woodville Tree design.

The Woodville Upgrade Residents' Group launched the project as "the icing on the cake" of the town's upgrades last year.

It was a creative quest for a state of the art statue that would define the history and energy of the community, the group's chairman Peter Bonser said.

Artists were asked to draw an A3-sized sketch of their design. Finalists were given $2000 to build a quarter-scale model of their entry.

The mini monuments went on display last month, with the public voting for their favourites and an artistic panel of five "Woodvillians", including Mr Bonser, picking the winner this week.

Vincent's 3.8-metre tall steel and timber tree features recycled glass leaves.

The interactive element of the design, incorporating bench seats at the base of the tree, pushed it above others, Mr Bonser said.

Vincent, who is known for his paintings and stone sculpture, said he was excited about the project and was extending his studio to house the towering artwork. He entered the competition on the advice of close friend, and former Woodville art gallery owner, Helmut Hirler.

Vincent said his design incorporated themes from Tiffany lamps, but Woodville's pioneering background and links to forestry stood out. It's likely to be quite "organic" in its construction. "The way I work, I don't use a slide ruler; it's more done by the eye."

The project received $25,000 funding from the Creative Community Trust, the Woodville Districts' Vision and the Meridian Energy Te Apiti Community Fund. It should be in place in Vogel St by November.

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- Manawatu Standard

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