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columns of colour

Victoria Park Viaduct columns

Artist Miriam van Wezel developed her column painting scheme called ‘The Colours of our History’, using colourful discs to represent the historic use of colour in Auckland over time from Maori occupation to today’s multi-cultural, contemporary setting.

Painted discs on the Victoria Park Viaduct columns

The Victoria Park Tunnel project includes urban design and landscaping initiatives that makes the western fringe of the Auckland CBD a more vibrant, walkable place to live and work. As part of the grand vision, the columns supporting the viaduct adjoining the public space have been painted as a Public Arts Project. A competition by invitation resulted in a shortlist of three proposals being presented, with the preferred scheme chosen by the Auckland Public Arts Panel and supported by the Victoria Park Alliance.

Artist Miriam van Wezel developed her column painting scheme called ‘The Colours of our History’, using colourful discs to represent the historic use of colour in Auckland over time from Maori occupation to today’s multi-cultural, contemporary setting.

The work consists of a coloured disc painted on each column, running for over 50 columns flanking the Viaduct. As they progress along, the discs rotate around the columns, rise and fall slowly, and change colour in a sequence to reflect the historic use of colour. The discs adjust to suit their ‘host’ columns: each disc reaches halfway around the column, its diameter matching the circumference of the column. The discs rotate clockwise around the columns, shifting 45 degrees from one column to the next, allowing for maximum readability from any given position in the park and as a work as a whole. The circle was chosen as a universal symbol of unity, wholeness, connectedness, inclusiveness and also relates to the sun, moon and stars. Planetary movement is suggested by the rotation and rise and fall of the discs.

Painting the Victoria Park Viaduct columns with Resene paints

The flow of discs along the columns creates a timeline of a selection of colours of history based on a colour palette broadly representative of eight identified periods: Maori, Early Colonial, Mid-Victorian, Late-Victorian, Dominion Years, Post War, Pacifica and Contemporary/Multi-Cultural. With a limited number of columns available a selection of colours was made that were most representative of each era, with the exception of the Maori colours. Rather than representing a specific era or choosing a more generic Maori palette, the advice was to link the colours more directly to the site itself; red pohutukawa, black earth, blue night sky, white fish bone and green kuta reed.

Each disc is painted using Resene Sandtex Mediterranean effect as a lightly textured coat to help disguise some of the variation in the substrate and provide a more evenly textured circle. This was followed by Resene Lumbersider in the chosen colour. The complete system was finished in Resene Uracryl anti-graffiti finish to provide protection against tagging into the future.

Design plans for the columns

Artist: Miriam van Wezel
More information
From the Resene News – issue 2/2012


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