Christchurch, New Zealand: Outdoor Art in the City.

One of the things I love about living in Christchurch is that you never know what you’ll run across when you head into the city center. Sometimes it’s festivals. Other times unique works of art.

Yesterday’s trip into Cathedral Square was no exception. I was looking for coffee but found, instead, a giant purple sperm  sprawled out in front of the Cathedral.


Turns out it’s part of the 2008 SCAPE Christchurch Biennial of Art in Public Space, an outdoor art exhibition that features the work of 25 artists from 15 countries. The giant purple sperm, known as Darwin,  is the work of Joep van Lieshout, and apparently is meant to imply power, status, expansion, and reproduction, reflecting ideas of survival in all aspects of life, both biological and corporate.  It’s positioning in Cathedral Square, the so-called ‘heart of the city’ is a statement about new life and regeneration of the city center.  I’m not sure, however, that kids see it the same way. They just seem to see it as one more thing to walk and roll all over. 

SCAPE art is scattered around the city, often making you do a double take when you walk past.

Not quite sure of what you are seeing, you stop and contemplate.

And then, suddenly, you’ll notice the red SCAPE sign that explains the who, what, and why of the exhibition that you’ve stumbled across.

With only an hour to kill, I didn’t have time to check out all the exhibits. But luckily, SCAPE is running until 2 November 2008, giving me a great reason to return for more coffee and art in the central city.

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