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Ancient and imagined fossil installation

Discovery play area at Cornwall Park’s native plant garden

  • What if time and space became jumbled, how would known and imagined worlds be thrown together?
  • What was Heretaunga like before humans arrived?
  • What creatures and plant life thrived here?

These questions inspired two local artists’ joint idea for a discovery area for children and whānau to explore, in Cornwall Park’s native garden.

Linda Bruce, a tutor at Hawke’s Bay’s EIT Ideaschool, submitted the idea for a discovery area focused on bringing together history, arts, cultural, ecology and landscape during the Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan review in 2019.

 She and Susan Mabin, a self-employed artist with a masters degree from EIT Ideaschool, have spent the past year creating sculptural artworks around these concepts and are now installing them. 

The installation juxtaposes real and imagined, ancient and contemporary, arts and science.

Ancient fossils buried within geological strata, flora and fauna indigenous to Aotearoa, and the symbolism of turtles, have inspired the artists’ design concepts.

Mixed in are hybrid creations of imagined things and embedded detritus of the contemporary age, creating a wonderland of tactile and visual experiences to explore. 

The sculptors have created the works using known art materials of clay, concrete, wood, metal and resin. They have also incorporated recycled and repurposed materials: a mix of natural and manmade found objects.


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