Bernie Harfleet and Donna Turtle Sarten voted 2016 NZ Sculpture OnShore Visitor Favourite. Photo: Goina Thedinga.
The creators of Max and Bella and friends, Bernie Harfleet and Donna Turtle Sarten, have been named as the NZ Sculpture OnShore 2016 visitor favourite.
The 10,000 windmill sculpture engaged viewers immediately with one visitor to the show saying, “This is awesome! Loved the changing sound and movement.”
Making 10,000 windmills was an enormously collaborative effort. All the individual components were produced off site, and then a team of over 55 volunteers spent a week at Fort Takapuna assembling and installing the pinwheels.
The windmill sculpture, entitled ‘Max and Bella and friends’ was inspired by the artist’s resolve to raise mental health awareness in New Zealand, with particular focus on anxiety and depression.
“It’s estimated approximately 200,000 people a month in New Zealand experience psychological distress,” says Donna Turtle Sarten, “and the 10,000 windmills in Max and Bella and Friends represent only five percent of that. The windmill has a figurative quality to it… it has times of stillness and of movement, serving as an analogy for the mind.”
Bernie Harfleet says, “Health and support agencies agree that talking about mental health and asking for, or offering help are positive ways forward. ‘Max and Bella and friends’ gives a visual experience to something that is not talked about enough.”
The couple are artists well known for their social-political art practices, with their works examining aspects of society that sit outside the comfort zone of many. Donna holds a MFA from Elam, and Bernie is self-taught.
NZ Sculpture OnShore curators, Anna Hanson and Ross Liew said they were impressed with the variety and diversity of sculptures exhibited at this years’ show from both established and emerging artists. “It’s been a privilege to work with fantastic artists this year, and to also see Bernie and Donna’s installation, which was impressive in scale, visual representation and interactivity, recognised by visitor's to the exhibit.”
Carmel Fisher from Fisher Funds, sponsor of NZ Sculpture OnShore People’s Choice Award said it was important to recognise the achievements of artists involved in NZ Sculpture OnShore and their support toward NZ Women’s Refuge.
“The People’s Choice Award is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to NZ Sculpture OnShore to vote for their favourite sculpture, and it represents the community coming together through the arts to support the amazing work of NZ Women’s Refuge. We are proud to be a part of it."
People's Choice Winner, 2014, Jack Marsden Mayer, Humpback Whale. Photo: Goina Thedinga.
The ever-popular People's Choice Award will be back in 2016 - sponsored by Fisher Funds.
At the 2012 exhibition, over 7000 people voted for a favourite sculpture, with Jack Marsden Meyer's Kashin the clear winner.
2014 once again saw Jack Marsden Meyer win the People's Choice Award with Humpback Whale.Originally from the North of England, Jack Marsden-Mayer has lived in New Zealand for the last seven years. He says of his sculpture “humpback whales in the southern hemisphere once numbered 14,000, but by the whaling ban in 1996 only one percent remained.