Colourful artworks lift the spirit of Cathedral Square

Colourful artworks lift the spirit of Cathedral Square

Colourful installations by Kiwi artists Chris Heaphy and Sara Hughes will soon be at home in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square as part of Christchurch City Council’s Transitional Cathedral Square project.

The two artists were assigned the task of creating pieces that responded to the area’s Ngai Tahu connections as well as incorporating its present state and future aspirations. 

Sara Hughes with her work

Hughes decided it was important to bring colour into the space, as she was very affected by the grey emptiness of the square. 

“I am particularly interested in colour for its emotional and psychological effects on people … I have a strong interest in collections and histories of an area – when I was asked to work on this project I felt drawn towards the Johnstone collection of art and design, housed at the University of Canterbury.”

Chris Heaphy with his work

Heaphy, who is of Ngai Tahu descent, has created a stretching wall of signs, symbols and geometric shapes rendered in vibrant, solid blocks of colour. He explains the close connection he feels to Christchurch, having studied at Canterbury University and beginning his career as an exhibiting artist with the Jonathan Smart Gallery.

Christchurch Art Gallery curator Ken Hall calls the works “an antidote” for much of what Christchurch has experienced.

“They are amazingly powerful and optimistic, suggesting a new start, visual power packs that will bring this space back to life. Both artists have put so much vitality and care into their works, which I think shows their being very nicely attuned to what we’re ready for in Christchurch right now. It’s art that lifts the spirit. I think it will offer a boost to all of us.”