Courtenay Place Park light boxes

A New Zealand first, Courtenay Place Park light boxes form a highly public exhibition space in the midst of Wellington’s central city environment.

The eight 3-metre high steel and glass LED light boxes were designed as an integral part of the Courtenay Place Park and were unveiled in May 2008.

The light boxes encourage people to reflect on this busy and diverse urban centre, even if just for a minute.

Each exhibition lasts for four to six months.

Current exhibition

Stan Chan, Dragon, 2020 (left) ; Kerry Ann Lee, Half Heaven - Half Heartache, 2021 (right)
Stan Chan 仕丹 陳, Dragon, 2020 (left) ; Kerry Ann Lee 鄺南燕, Half Heaven - Half Heartache, 2021 (right)

Ho Sun Nian 賀新年

Artists: Kerry Ann Lee 鄺南燕, Stan Chan 仕丹 陳
Asian Events Trust 

1 February – 23 May 2021

Ho Sun Nian is inspired by Wellington’s Chinese New Year celebrations and community. Wellington-based Chinese artists Stan Chan and Kerry Ann Lee respond to the annual celebration by bringing their unique perspectives and expressions of Chinese culture to Courtenay Place.

New Year is the most important date in the Chinese calendar. The exhibition’s title Ho Sun Nian refers to the Cantonese phrase ‘celebrating New Year’ and references the language of the Chinese community who first settled in Wellington. The community’s new year festivals created an opportunity for new Chinese residents to bring their culture out into the streets of Wellington, and to feel more at home in New Zealand.

Chinese brush painter and calligrapher Stan Chan has been involved with the new year festival for 20 years. In Ho Sun Nian, his Chinese brush paintings capture moments from photographs of Wellington’s Chinese New Year celebrations in years gone by – a Chinese lion parading through the streets, an East meets West fashion show from the 1980s.  Chan’s expressive paintings portray the lively atmosphere of the cultural events.

Kerry Ann Lee shows a personal perspective of Chinese culture and celebrations. Her work has been described as exploring cultural intersections in the space between private moments and public locations. Well known for her hand-made and digital collages, Lee’s new work in the light boxes also overlays a playful ‘pop’ aesthetic to scenes of remembrance and celebration. Fascinated by the role food and ritual plays in bringing communities together, Lee shows Cantonese Chinese placemaking in all its guises from family meals, restaurants and local sites of significance.  

Ho Sun Nian is part of the 20th anniversary of Chinese New Year festival celebrations, 13-14 February 2021.

About the artists

Stan Chan has practised and taught traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy, as well as western oil and watercolour techniques from his studio inkLink in Left Bank, Cuba Mall, Wellington since 2000. Chan studied art in Hong Kong and has participated in both group and solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand.

Kerry Ann Lee is a visual artist, designer, and scholar from Te Whanganui-a-tara of Seypi Cantonese Chinese descent. Lee has undertaken international residencies in China, Taiwan, US, Mexico and Australia and exhibits regularly in New Zealand and overseas. Exhibitions include, Fruits in the Backwater at Pātaka Art + Museum (2017) and Return to Skyland (2018), an installation within the Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition at Te Papa. 

Upcoming exhibitions

Whiro, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021  Photographer: Norm Heke  - Tamatea-ā-Ngana, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke .
Tamatea-ā-Ngana, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke, Model: Miriama Grace-Smith; Whiro, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke , Model: Awhina Tamarapa



Artist: Keri-Mei Zagrobelna
Photographer and Digital Artist: Norm Heke
Awhina Tamarapa

18 June – 26 September 2021

Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Keri-Mei Zagrobelna’s new exhibition Whakahoki draws inspiration from the Maramataka Māori Lunar calendar to celebrate Matariki in the Courtenay Place Park light boxes. 

In Whakahoki, Zagrobelna considers how working within Te Ao Māori can bring balance and meaning to our lives, with a particular focus on mental health. The artist looks at how the Maramataka’s cycles through darkness and light can offer guidance on navigating similar phases in our own lives. 

Zagrobelna has created contemporary jewellery and object art to interpret sixteen of the thirty lunar nights from the Maramataka. She uses a diverse array of materials in her handcrafted pieces including obsidian, shells, kowhai seeds, glass and pounamu. The unique objects have been translated into a series of striking light box images with photography by Norm Heke. Zagrobelna and Heke worked closely together to create digital imagery that captures the essence and kaupapa for each of the corresponding Maramataka nights. The imagery pulls viewers into the space of the Maramataka, providing an opportunity to interpret the night’s meaning and relevance. The title Whakahoki refers to Zagrobelna’s engagement with the Maramataka as a way to ‘return, respond and give back’. She hopes the exhibition will prompt audiences to consider the relevance of indigenous knowledge to contemporary life. 

About the artists

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna (Te Āti-Awa, Te Whānau a Apanui) is an emerging contemporary Māori artist who seeks to build cross-cultural understanding and relationships through her work. Zagrobelna has exhibited and presented her work nationally and internationally including as part of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts New Zealand delegation in Guam (2016) and at Crypt Gallery, London (2018).

How to exhibit

For info on how to have your work exhibited in the lightboxes, see our exhibition opportunities page.

Previous exhibitions

View information and images from past projects. 

Contact us

Eve Armstrong, Senior Arts Advisor

Mobile: 021 227 8207