Kakapo sculptures hidden in Christchurch

Last updated 08:45 17/03/2014
Sayraphim Lothianf
Stacy Squires

GUERILLA ART: Melbourne artist Sayraphim Lothian has hidden kakapo creations around the city.

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An artist has started hiding 126 kakapo sculptures around Christchurch for residents to find and adopt.

Sayraphim Lothian hid 10 of the "soft sculptures" in town on Friday and plans to hide another 12 a day over the 10 days she remains in Christchurch.

She called her approach "acts of guerilla kindness".

"My work makes people's day brighter."

Lothian picked kakapo after learning about the recovery of the New Zealand native parrot - just 18 known birds in the 1970s to 124 birds this year, with two additional chicks born in the last two weeks.

"That journey of recovery is pretty amazing.

"The recovery of Christchurch is too. I'm telling the people of Christchurch that there's hope and love and people are rooting for them."

People will know they have found a bird because they are skilfully sewn cloth sculptures and carry a label that invites finders to report back on Lothian's website.

"But it's not about the responses," she said.

It is the fact the birds took up to two hours to make, they were "awesome and cute" and their destiny interested her

It was inevitable some would be lost to the weather, but that was the nature of transitional public art, Lothian said.

The Melbourne-based artist came to Christchurch with 124 birds, but discovered she had to sew two more after the chicks were born.

The birds are not well hidden.

"I put them in the open because I want them found, that's the point."

Lothian had never been to Christchurch until last week and was taking advice from Gap Filler, which sponsored the project, on suitable locations.

She installed cloth dragons on derelict buildings in Hobson's Bay, Melbourne, last year.

Inspired by old European maps that labelled the unknown as "Here be dragons", Lothian's point was that the buildings were "part of their community and not an unknown place to be wary of". When she couldn't find a final derelict building, she left the last dragon at a skateboard park.

Lothian will lead free kakapo-making workshops Saturday and Sunday, 1pm to 4pm, at the Pallet Pavilion.

Visit sayraphimlothian.com or gapfiller.org.nz.

Open Source is a weekly series featuring innovative, interesting ideas emerging within the city and region. If you want to share an idea, email will.harvie@press.co.nz

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