Last summer artists Kemi and Niko delighted Wellingtonians with their project Miniature Hikes, featuring seven miniature huts designed to celebrate New Zealand’s fascination with escaping to the backcountry, and to highlight lesser known parts of the city.
This year Kemi Niko & Co. are launching Extend Yourself, a series of interactive public artworks in Rolleston Heights, Mount Cook. The Co. in Kemi Niko and Co. stands for connective, and like all of the artists’ projects, Extend Yourself relies on the participation and trust of the community. Their latest sculpture series is the result of more than two years research developing installations in the area, and the enthusiastic participation of local residents.
“We have designed these works taking cues from the way locals have naturally interacted with past installations. They want to connect with each other and the bush, we just add fun to the mix” say the pair.
The site-specific Extend Yourself sculptures are made primarily of salvaged materials and call for people to engage with the natural richness of our shared backyard. Located in Prince of Wales Park – next to the main pathways from Brooklyn to the city – hikers on the Te Araroa or City to Sea walks will have the perfect excuse to stop for a breather.
The first sculpture in the series, Watershed, is already on site. A series of rain collection channels mimicking a river system, Watershed can be found on the upper hill of the park. More works will be added throughout the area over the coming months adding an extra element of surprise and discovery.
The project coincides with Nature Through Arts Collective project Imagine My City calling for local kids to take on a 100 day Creative Challenge over the summer. The two projects share the goal of bringing science, art and community together to inspire people to re-engage with nature.
The results of Imagine My City will be exhibited 17-23 March accompanied by events including artists talks, a publication launch and community discussions at 17 Tory St.
Extend Yourself is supported by the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund.