New Christchurch public artwork reflects on Antarctic exploration

Render of Brett Graham's Erratic

Auckland-based artist Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) spent several months hard at work in a tent in Henderson with his friend Steve Woodward, grinding and chipping away at a nine-tonne piece of Norwegian Arctic White granite for his new sculpture, Erratic. Commissioned by Christchurch City Council and produced in association with SCAPE Public Art, the artwork is being installed along the Ōtakaro Avon River, opposite the statue of Robert Falcon Scott.

This new sculpture speaks to the journey of another Antarctic explorer, Roald Amundsen, whose skill and use of indigenous expertise in reaching the South Pole were largely ignored by the British press in favour of Scott. It takes the form of a large, horizontal, rounded piece of granite, imported from Amundsen’s homeland of Norway. The 99 mounds on its surface, unfurling in a spiral from the centre, reference the number of days that Amundsen and his men took to journey to the South Pole and back. The design of the mounds also draws from indigenous calendars and the Inuit tradition of building stone mounds to mark territories.

Indigenous peoples and issues are a strong guiding force through Graham’s art. Through his Māori whakapapa, he feels affiliated with a global network of non-Western people, and his work consciously engages with indigenous issues and how they are affected by the history of imperialism.

“I am intrigued by how history chooses to memorialise events and historical figures, while forgetting others,” Graham says. “Amundsen was the actual ‘victor’ in the ‘race’ to the South Pole, but because he wasn’t British, he was overlooked, even vilified. His genius in using the techniques he learned from Inuit communities on how to survive the extreme cold was seen as unsporting.”

“We welcome Brett Graham’s quietly monumental work Erratic to the city’s growing public art collection,” says Public Advisory Group Chair Anthony Wright. “With its glacial and Antarctic connections it speaks to the natural and human forces that have shaped Te Waipounamu and adds to the city’s Antarctic gateway narrative.”

Erratic is a sculpture that ruminates on the very nature of memorials, and how only select elements of history are seen as worth memorialising. The title of the artwork takes inspiration from glacial erratics: rocks that have been carried vast distances by glaciers and deposited somewhere far from their point of origin. It is also a play on words for the way the British Empire, including the Commonwealth, have chosen to remember history.

“We are delighted to be the producers of another permanent public artwork for Ōtautahi,” says SCAPE Public Art Executive Director Deborah McCormick. “Brett’s work has such an incredible story to tell and carries such weight both culturally and artistically. Erratic will make a fabulous addition to our city’s legacy artwork collection.”

Erratic is being unveiled on 11 March.

This artwork is made possible thanks to the support of Naylor Love, Cosgroves, Treetech, Beca, Ōtākaro Limited, Anderson Lloyd and Christchurch City Council.

SCAPE Public Art Announces Executive Director’s Resignation

SCAPE Public Art announced today its Executive Director, Deborah McCormick, has resigned from her role of Executive Director effective 31 March 2023 after her highly successful 25 years at the helm.

SCAPE will be recruiting for a Creative Director to join the team before Deborah’s departure. Deborah will work with her successor to transition SCAPE Public Art into a new era for its next 25 years.

SCAPE is in the best shape in terms of arts and business ready to launch the new platform and the future. Deborah will leave SCAPE in a very strong position for future growth and sustainability.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to have served in this role and deliver so much creative inspiration for my home city Christchurch and New Zealand. I believe that this is the right point in my career to take on new challenges,” Deborah said.

“Next year will celebrate 25 years of SCAPE Public Art and acknowledging Deborah’s role in overseeing the installation of an amazing portfolio of both permanent and temporary public art,” said Michael Fulton, Chair of SCAPE Public Art Trust. “She has provided outstanding leadership through difficult and challenging times such as the Christchurch earthquakes and Covid. Deborah has been a key figure in the first 25 years of SCAPE, and the board wish her well with her future career, knowing she will remain a strong supporter of SCAPE and our next 25 years.”

Next week’s launch of SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 brings works from eight local and international artists to the city. Each artist’s work will showcase their unique interpretation of this year’s theme, Sweat Equity, a compelling conclusion to Managing Curator Jamie Hanton’s overall vision of Fictions, which has tied together SCAPE Public Art’s seasons from 2020-2022.

Eight new public artworks to open in central Ōtautahi

SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 Sweat Equity opens on Saturday 5 November, bringing artworks from eight local and international artists to Ōtautahi for the public to enjoy until 29 January 2023. This free annual event is a highlight of Christchurch’s cultural calendar, inviting its residents and visitors to soak in the sun, wander the city and discover the delights of inspiring, intriguing and sometimes-surprising works of public art this summer.

The opening weekend on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November is packed with special events to kick off the season. Hye Rim Lee’s new animation artwork, White Rose, will be on display on the large outdoor event screen at Te Pae for the opening weekend only.

Hye Rim’s animation and limited edition digital photographic prints will also be on display for a limited time at SCAPE Public Art’s new pop-up gallery in The Arts Centre Old Registry Building, along with the season artworks from YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. These innovative digital artworks are available to view between 11am and 3pm, Wednesday to Saturday, until Friday 16 December.

The first of Managing Curator Jamie Hanton’s free guided walking tours is on Saturday 5 November, where participants will get background information on the artworks and artists, as well as an inside perspective on the production process and Jamie’s vision for the season. The walk starts at The Piano and takes approximately 1.5 hours. Bookings required.

Also on Saturday, SCAPE Public Art celebrates the launch of artworks from the talented young winners of this year’s Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists competition. The winning students have worked with SCAPE and its industry partners to produce their designs for public display in Hagley Park, and on Saturday, SCAPE and the junior and senior winners of the Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture category will be on site to celebrate the completion and installation of their works. The competition has been extended this year to include a mural category thanks to generous support from Resene. The two winning mural designs will be on display from Saturday 19 November.

Click here to download the full media release (PDF)

Click here to download the full media release (MS Word)

People’s Choice Award

Winners announced for Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists 2022

After receiving more than 150 entries to this year’s competition, the winners for Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture and Re:ACTIVATE Mural have been selected.

Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists is an annual competition open to youth aged between 5 and 18 in Canterbury. Entrants this year were asked to respond to the SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 theme of Sweat Equity, considering the sub-themes of labour and the body, virtuality, and obsolescence. There was an incredibly high level of creativity and sophisticated ideas displayed across all the submissions, and SCAPE Public Art is delighted to announce the winners for 2022.

Along with its industry partners, SCAPE Public Art mentors the winning artists to produce their designs for public display in Hagley Park. All Re:ACTIVATE artworks will be available to view for the duration of SCAPE Public Art Season 2022. Concepts from the shortlisted Re:ACTIVATE submissions will be on display at Tūranga Central Library throughout the season.

Click here to download the full media release (PDF)
Click here to download the full media release (MS Word)

Re:ACTIVATE – Calling Aspiring Artists

Re:ACTIVATE – Calling Aspiring Artists

Re:ACTIVATE 2021 winners with their installed artworks from left: Te Ao Rangimarie Davis, Tama-nui-te-rā 2021, aged 8, Te Pā o Rākaihautū School. Sienna Oshannessey and Agatha Weston,  Remembering our roots 2021, aged 16 from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.

Invitation to Young Artists to Present Public Art in Hagley Park

SCAPE Public Art is inviting aspiring artists aged 18 and under to submit their ideas for an artwork to be produced for a public space during SCAPE season 2022, 5 November 2022 – 29 January 2023.

Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists is designed to nurture, grow and promote the creative arts by mentoring and giving opportunities to talented young artists. It is an annual competition and exhibition open to youth aged between 5 and 18 in Canterbury. Participating students will respond to a brief and submit designs for the chance to have their artworks produced for public display.

“SCAPE Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists is now in its seventh year, we are proud to be involved and can’t wait to see where the young people’s imaginations take them and what designs they come up with in response to this year’s theme” Helen Trappitt, director of Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers.

This is an opportunity for young artists to explore the creative process and come up with a design for an artwork that shows their unique perspective on the theme. There are two categories open for entry this year: Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture and Re:ACTIVATE Mural. Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture is a competition for individual students to develop an idea for sculptural artworks, which the winners will get to create under the guidance of SCAPE Public Art’s expert industry partners. Re:ACTIVATE Mural supported by Resene is a competition for groups of between four to eight students, who will work together alongside a local mural artist to create a design for a mural that will be displayed on billboards in Hagley Park.

Re:ACTIVATE 2021 winners from left: Sienna Oshannessey, Te Ao Rangimarie Davis, and Agatha Weston.

Next Steps 

Read through the brief and start exploring design concepts based on the theme and sub-themes.

The theme of this year’s SCAPE Public Art Season is Sweat Equity, and there are several sub-themes that participants might like to explore. In considering their artwork, students may think about labour and the body: the work done by a person or people in their family, the idea of working hard to succeed, and what the impact of a life of hard work might be. Other themes include illusion and virtuality: how a lot of our modern lives are lived online, and what information about us may be out there without us even knowing it; or obsolescence: exploring the boundary between the digital and physical world, and how social media, online gaming and the virtual space is no longer just a tool for entertainment but a space we inhabit.

Sarah Ackerley is the new Education and Community Engagement Manager at SCAPE Public Art. With a background in Fine Arts and education, she will be sharing her expertise with schools and students. Sarah is available for outreach visits to your school to discuss the themes and work on design concepts with students. Click here to book a session or email
Bookings will be open soon for the upcoming SCAPE education programme, 17 October – 2 December 2022. This year’s programme includes art-making activities inspired by some of our legacy works as well as sessions working with our community-engaged artist, Dr Jo Burzynska. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information! This popular education programme is a unique opportunity for students to learn more about the SCAPE season artworks and take part in creative educational workshops.
Entries for Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists open on 29 July and close on 5 September. Find the full brief and details for entry here: Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists 2022.

Have you joined the Klub?

Have you joined the Klub?

The SCAPE Art Klub is our dedicated space for how you can become part of SCAPE events and fundraising programmes: where you can be the first to hear about what we have going on throughout the year. This is also the place to see features on our amazing participating artists and purchase their works directly through our website.

The mission of the Klub is to be a go-to resource for our fundraising events and art sales. It is a gathering space for art lovers and artists alike and aims to support the artists featured in SCAPE’s Seasons and online store.

SCAPE Art Klub features artist profiles, works for sale, studio tours, art experiences and VIP events. Followers get the earliest word on what events are coming up throughout the year and works that are available to purchase. Proceeds from these events go to our artists and SCAPE’s free public art and education programmes.

Follow the Klub to expand your art knowledge and be part of a passionate and supportive art community!
Or to browse our selection of artworks for sale, visit SCAPE Art Shop!

Saying goodbye to Call me Snake by Judy Millar

Lovely article about the deconstruction of Call Me Snake on Stuff. Judy Millar sums it up perfectly: “The original excitement of doing the piece for SCAPE in the first place was to be part of the dynamically changing cityscape of Christchurch. It’s good to keep that dynamism going.” Click here to read the full article.

Read more about this artwork here!


We are looking for art-loving individuals to join our team!

Education Internship

Great opportunity for an arts-loving person, to support the planning and delivery of the Education Programme for the SCAPE Season 2022 and aligned activities throughout the year, assisting in the creation and organising of education resources and materials and supporting the Education & Community Engagement Manager developing Education Resources for artworks.
Read the full description here and how to apply!

Graphic Design Internship

This is a great opportunity for an arts-loving graphic designer to develop skills in a highly creative environment, where you will get to work on a range of print and digital projects, such as invitations, marketing materials, assisting in the creation of materials for Education & Community Engagement programmes and online marketing strategies.

If you are keen to learn more get in touch with Jade and send a CV to

We have our dates confirmed for SCAPE Public Art Season 2022!

Running from 5 November 2022 to 29 January 2023, eight locally and internationally recognised artists will be debuting artworks around central Ōtautahi Christchurch, showcasing their responses to this year’s theme, Sweat Equity.
Managing Curator Jamie Hanton will bring his final selections for the overarching theme of Fictions for SCAPE Public Art 2020 – 2022. “Fictions aims to introduce elements of mystery and moments of revelation to the Ōtautahi cityscape,” explains Hanton.

In the language of the start-up business, Sweat Equity is “the increase in value, created as a direct result of hard work by the owner.” In the context of Fictions, Sweat Equity is a neoliberal fantasy, a pull yourself up by your own bootstraps fairytale about how we can all make it if we work hard enough. The season will include work that explores bodily agency and autonomy in late-capitalist society with a particular focus on the membrane between the digital and analogue worlds.

📌 Watch this space as we reveal more about this year’s festival and get excited to experience world-class art in the heart of Central city.
Image caption: Jamie Hanton in conversation with artist Janet Lilo about her artwork Pen, on a SCAPE Art tour as part of Season 2021.

Public Art Takes Over Central Christchurch for SCAPE Season 2021

Season 2021

Meet the artists of SCAPE Season 2021!

Running from 9 October – 20 November, eight locally and internationally recognised artists will be debuting artworks around central Ōtautahi | Christchurch, showcasing their interpretations of the theme Shadows Cast.

Media release (MS Word)

Media release (PDF)

Help SCAPE share the joy of public art with Hillmorton Hospital!

Bold, bright and brilliantly yellow, SCAPE Public Art is on a mission to permanently move Seung Yul Oh’s delightful Conduct Cumulus sculpture to the Hillmorton Hospital Grounds – but needs your help!

Coupled with the delivery of an outreach Art, Learning and Wellbeing programme, SCAPE is fundraising to bring the joy of art to the patients, staff and whānau of Hillmorton Hospital.

Donate now!

Media release (PDF)

Media release (MS Word)