Mowing blunder destroys grass art

JESSICA TASMAN-JONES
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2012
grass art
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KEEP OFF: Richard Orjis's grass art sculpture outside Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts.

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Overzealous council contractors have literally mowed down an Auckland sculpture on several occasions.

A circular piece of grass, marked by a concrete border, was meant to be left to its own devices for a year, on site at the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga.

Artist Richard Orjis, who normally works in photography, was inspired to work with a living medium after spending time in his own garden at home.

But before Grass Circle had time to grow, dutiful council contractors took to it with a lawnmower several times before the message got across it was part of the gallery's collection.

The revelation was made, as an aside, during the Pakuranga Arts and Culture Trust's half-year report to council this month.

The trust, which receives $530,000 of council funding annually, jointly administers Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts with the Eastern Manukau Arts Trust.

Te Tuhi executive director James McCarthy says the gallery had liaised with council grounds staff before the sculpture was installed, but believed contractors from outside the area thought the piece of grass had been missed when the lawns were mowed.

"It was funny, several mornings myself and the curator raced outside to tell some unsuspecting contractors, but I respected their sense of pride."

Following a few false starts, the grass tuft was allowed to grow for a year until last December. Once the one-year period was up, the concrete border was removed and the overgrown grass mowed over - this time with the artist's consent.

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