College – Issue 40

CCOBA ART COLLECTION A Red Black Feather in CCOBA Art Collection

A powerful new artwork – Red Black Feather – appears to float into view at Christ’s College. The work by Christchurch sculptor Neil Dawson is the latest addition to the CCOBA Art Collection. A testament to natural engineering and the freedom of flight, Red Black Feather captures the notions of transience, fragility or freedom. While both playful and layered with meaning, the work also features red and black – a Cantabrian palette that reminds us of home or perhaps an ANZAC poppy. A three- dimensional rendering, it seems to float weightlessly, forever caught in time on the wall. Dawson has been a remarkable force in contemporary sculpture for many years, with his works among the most prized across the New Zealand landscape. His striking pieces reflect light and transparency, changing the perspective and revealing different layers. Two of his most visible landmark works can be seen in Christchurch. Fanfare announces the arrival into the city from the Northern Motorway, while Chalice, in Cathedral Square, is a powerful symbol of the city’s resilience and perseverance.

Born and bred in Christchurch, Dawson’s spectacular sculptural works frequently echo aspects of New Zealand’s sociocultural environments – often lifted skywards – in spatial celebrations that are both accessible and challenging. Since the 1980s, Dawson has been working with the imagery of rocks and feathers, rendering both in seemingly weightless ways, questioning perceptions and surroundings. Feathers have featured in Dawson’s work for more than 30 years, offering an imagery that is both playful and multi-layered with meaning. The symbolism of Red Black Feather , 2020, evokes strong emotions – frozen in time on the wall. Whatever your response, Dawson delights in allowing the viewer their own meaning. An evocative piece, the CCOBA Art Collection is further enhanced by this stunning work from an internationally recognised – but homegrown – sculptor responsible for some of our city’s most-admired landmarks.

College Issue 40 2021


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