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Cornwall Park installation opens up new world of discovery within native garden

Fossil garden cornwall

A new world of discovery has opened up at Cornwall Park’s native garden area with the completion of an installation by Hawke’s Bay artists Linda Bruce and Susan Mabin.

Located in the area between Osmanthus Garden and the playground, mixed media sculptures that suggest geological strata, ocean themed bone-like forms, and turtle fossils have been placed under the tree canopy.

The idea for the transformation came about during the Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan review in 2019, when EIT IDEAschool tutor and artist Linda Bruce submitted a request to include an exploratory/discovery/adventure area focused on bringing together Heretaunga's history, arts, culture, ecology and landscape.

She teamed up with fellow Hawke's Bay artist Susan Mabin to form the business, Kotuku Play Partnership, and the pair has created an artful installation that brings to mind an ancient and imagined fossil landscape designed to generate wonder, curiosity and playfulness.

While the artists have done most of the work over the last few months, producing and installing the sculptural elements, they have also been assisted by EIT art students, who have incorporated the experience into their learning.

Linda said the work is a contemporary take on remnants of what the Heretaunga environment could have been like before humans arrived, combined with the detritus of the contemporary age. 

"This installation connects the beauty of the native trees, plants and birds with curious fun stuff to explore – ready for play.”

Hastings district councillor and greater communities subcommittee chair Eileen Lawson said the revamped area is an exciting addition to the ever-popular Cornwall Park.

“Next time you are at the park, make sure you go and take a look and explore through an artistic lens what pre-human Heretaunga may have looked and felt like.

“It’s especially appealing to children with lots of small detailed elements, both old and more modern and familiar, tucked away amongst the native plants and trees.

“It’s a very tactile space with lots to discover and touch – fun for everyone.”

11 May 2022

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