Sunday, January 15, 2012

walking the art: Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Over the weekend I loved walking the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail – 43 sculptures from some of New Zealand’s most well known sculpturers, located outdoors, among native bush and meandering lakes. The walk takes about an hour, and involves 2 km of walking. Trees and landscape is carefully used to ensure that the environment is the canvas and it allowed a wonderful mix of walking, contemplation and discovery, all in the outdoors, allowing the visits of native wood pigeons and tui. The trail is run by a Trust, with profit being made available to assist artists with costs (because large scale sculpture is expensive).

In 2009, I was part of an academic theology conference on land. Sitting on the grass, contemplating sculpture 31 – Graham Bennett’s Position fixing – I wondered what would have happened if the academic conference had occurred not an hour down the road in a sterile lecture room, but here, with regular walks through the trail.

In 2011, the conference became a book, The Gospel and the Land of Promise: Christian Approaches to the Land of the Bible. I have a chapter which I attempt a post-colonial reading of the Jacob narrative. I’m really pleased with it. But sitting beside sculpture 25 – Jim Wheeler’s Regeneration series – I wondered how much richer my chapter, and the entire book would have been if it had been theologians in dialogue with artists like Jim Wheeler and Graham Bennett.

Theology needs art. (But does art need theology?)

Posted by steve at 06:41 AM

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