Twin tribute to Japanese victims

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 21/05/2012
David Bolam-Smith
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
ARTISTIC VISION: David Bolam-Smith commissioned Annabel Menzies-Joyce to create memorial sculptures for the first anniversary of the February 22 earthquake. The pieces will be installed in Christchurch and Toyama City, Japan.

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Twin memorials on opposite sides of the world will pay tribute to Japanese victims of last year's February 22 earthquake.

Christchurch man David Bolam-Smith commissioned local artist Annabel Menzies-Joyce to create a kahikatea memorial sculpture, paid for by Japanese donations, for the quake's first anniversary.

The sculpture was unveiled on February 22 at the Christ's College chapel.

Bolam-Smith was inspired to commission a "twin" for Toyama City, where most of the Japanese victims were students, which will be unveiled next month. The idea was conceived by New Zealand's ambassador to Japan, Ian Kennedy, at a fundraising event in Tokyo, Bolam-Smith said.

"[Kennedy] was asking me if there was a memorial made for the first anniversary and I said, 'No'. He said it was a shame because there was 80 parents coming from Japan, and I said, 'Let's make one'."

The reception the sculptures had received was "overwhelming", he said.

Menzies-Joyce spent about six months on the two pieces. Kahikatea was symbolic because the trees grew together and gained strength from their roots, she said.

"It was really good to do something that had meaning. I put a lot of myself into this. There were a lot of nights of no sleep ... and I'm really pleased with the way it's come together."

Bolam-Smith, who has a Japanese wife and has been a volunteer on the Christchurch and Kurashiki sister-city committee for more than 20 years, will attend the Toyama City unveiling on June 25. The original sculpture is not on display, but is expected to be installed on the "cardboard cathedral" site, on Madras and Hereford streets.

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- The Press

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