Renowned New Zealand sculptor, Dion Hitchens is set to launch his new work, entitled, ‘Cherry, Peach, Plum and Damson’ in support of Women’s Refuge at the upcoming NZ Sculpture OnShore exhibition on the 3rd-18th November at Fort Takapuna, Devonport, Auckland.
Dion says, “Women’s Refuge is the main reason I do this show – it is something I will always be a part of and want to support. I recently spent time in India with my family and was deeply affected by the issue of abuse of women. I saw how few young women were visible on the streets and could sense the fear of women in this culture. I realised this emotion I was feeling was also related to the disappearance and murder of my cousin, Mere, when I was 14 years old. She was a victim of an abusive relationship and to this day our family still feels this loss.”
Dion believes that it wasn’t really until this trip to India that he realised much of his work relates emotionally to this event in his life. “I’ve been making these female spiritual forms for a long time,” he says. “I believe that as a society we need to shift our attitude and language so that we build the ‘mana’ of women rather than taking it away. I feel very optimistic about promoting positive change and I hope that my art represents this.”
‘Cherry, Peach, Plum and Damson,’ is based on the Buddhist teaching, 'Winter Turns to Spring'. “This is all about hope. No matter how much suffering we’re going through, change is inevitable. The second theme to this work is 'The Celebration of Difference'. All these flowers are different, as are all beings on our planet. It’s in our unique difference as individuals that we have value to offer the world,” Dion explains.Dion’s works are pod–shaped and made from 95 per cent re-used aluminium. They feature vibrant colour and this year he has incorporated lighting into the sculpture to emphasize the theme of change. “I love the way the work changes from day to night with the addition of lighting. It’s a bit like the way we all change as we go through life,” he says.
NZ Sculpture OnShore is a national biennial event presented at the spectacular Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve on Auckland’s North Shore. It is one of the largest supporters of Women’s Refuge NZ and has donated over $1.7 million since its’ inception, helping women and children access safe places to stay, counselling and wrap around services. NZ Sculpture OnShore is grateful for the generous support of its sponsors, including Hesketh Henry, Harcourts Cooper & Co and Fisher Funds.