Spanish sculptor creator of gateway work

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:00 31/05/2012
Juanjo Novella

DISTINCTIVE: Another public artwork by Basque sculptor Juanjo Novella who is creating a piece for Nelson.

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A celebrated Spanish artist with works in public spaces across the Spanish Riviera is the man behind a "significant" new sculpture to be erected in Miyazu Park.

The $200,000 sculpture by Basque artist Juanjo Novella will mark a gateway to Nelson, at the corner of Queen Elizabeth II Dr and Atawhai Dr in Miyazu Park.

Nelmac is laying the foundations in preparation for its installation in the next few weeks, but the Nelson City Council is keeping its design under wraps.

The work has been partially put together offshore and will be worked on in New Zealand. It will be transported on to the site and put into place.

Its official unveiling, at a dawn blessing on June 16, is timed to mark the leadup to Matariki or Maori New Year celebrations. A karakia will be carried out by local iwi and a kapa haka group will perform as part of the ceremony.

NCC arts and heritage adviser Debbie Daniell-Smith said Novella, who was also shortlisted for the council's Kinzett Tce sculpture project, was "a pretty big deal".

Novella's work can be seen in various public spaces across the Spanish Riviera, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Mrs Daniell-Smith said Novella had a distinctive style. He was "deeply touched" by nature and the idea of shelter was very present in his work, which tied in with Maori concepts of kaitiakitanga or guardianship.

"The art selection panel were very impressed by the sheer beauty of this man's work," she said.

The Miyazu Park sculpture project came out of strong feedback on the Nelson Tasman Regional Arts Strategy.

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- The Nelson Mail

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