Tiffany Singh has created a major new work honouring our revered Kauri as the Temporary Artist Project at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.
The recent Artist in Residence at the McCahon House, Titirangi, and prior to that at the Montalvo Arts Centre in California, Singh’s current practice forms an enquiry into concepts of wellbeing. This latest installation calls attention to the important issue of Kauri dieback disease affecting New Zealand’s giants of the forest.
Titled ‘The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way’ Singh draws on the ancient tradition of tree worship (dendrolatry) in this piece, creating ‘an offering to the forest spirits’ to protect the Kauri from this devastating disease. Visitors experiencing the work learn about and carry out the hygiene necessary to halt the spread of the disease which is caused by a microscopic soil-born pathogen.
Linking East and West, Singh’s work takes the form of Japanese Torii Gates, building on the Eastern connection established when New Zealand’s great Tāne Mahuta was partnered with Jomon Sugi, a giant cedar on YakushimaIsland in Japan, in 2009.
Torii gates are traditionally placed at the entrance to shrines, significantly dividing our visible world and that of the spirit world. At BrickBay, five of these gates lead people up through the Kauri grove to the main giant Kauri (over 100 years old), which Singh views as living shrines. Visitors are invited to play the bells suspended above (fair trade, from India), which become softer and of higher tone along the walk.
The pathway, and the gates of ‘The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way’ culminate close to Phil Dadson’s ‘Listen-stop’, an interactive art work described by Dadson as “a prosthetic performance task for solo, contemplative listening and/or conversation with the birds, the bells and the kauri”.