Volunteers needed for environmental art project

Local artist Daisy Nicholas earned the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Estuary Art and Ecology Awards and her latest project is part of the Arts Out East initiative. File photo supplied

East Auckland artist Daisy Nicholas needs about a dozen members of the public to help her create an environmentally-themed project at Mellons Bay Beach this Saturday.

Her latest work is part of the Arts Out East initiative funded by the Howick Local Board and supported by Te Tuhi contemporary art gallery in Pakuranga.

Nicholas says she’ll be creating a ‘cyanotype’ that’s 20 metres long, about 1.5m wide, and is made of thin muslin fabric.

“It’s a large-scale artwork that documents environmental factors such as erosion and the movement of the water in the shallow bedrock at Mellons Bay,” she says.

“One purpose is to document the environment but I also like to bring attention to the environment in a more meaningful way so people can connect with it.

“It’s a very visual demonstration of how nature works.

“A lot of people are disconnected from the environment around them at the moment and it’s sometimes harder to reconnect if you don’t already have that connection.

“Creating this artwork visually displays it in a really beautiful way.”

Nicholas says when the cyanotype is placed on the ground at the beach it will be a shade of green before it reacts to the sun.

It slowly becomes blue and finally settles into a “rich blue” colour, “almost tie-dyed watercolour looking”, she says.

“I’m going to need at least 10-15 people to move and place the artwork down and then remove it at the end.

“As part of it I’m providing everyone there with their own smaller cyanotype to make alongside it, as a gift.

“They’ll be able to mimic the process I’m doing on a smaller scale and they’ll be able to take that home.”

Once the cyanotype is placed on the ground it’s left there to develop.

Nicholas says it will be placed on the bedrock at the beach while the tide is out so people can explore the rock pools.

“I like to sit and watch it change because it’s a really stunning process.

“I’d like people to get there for 2.45pm and I’ll place the artwork down at about 3pm.

“The artwork will take about 40 minutes to develop and I think it’ll be finished by about 3.30pm.

“People are more than welcome to come and go while they check out what’s happening.”

Nicholas says she’s passionate about making contemporary art available to all.

“I don’t think people should be prevented from experiencing experimental art in their everyday lives just because it’s sometimes challenging.

“Mellons Bay Beach is one of my local beaches and it’s quite meaningful to me and my family because I’m fourth generation [resident] living in Howick.”

Arts Out East broker Ashley Grogan says: “We’re so excited to be supporting contemporary emerging artist Daisy Nicholas.

“Daisy’s project demonstrates how arts can connect creatives and community with art-making.

“We can’t wait to see the installation of the artwork on display at Palmers Garden Centre on Pakuranga Road.”

People keen to help Nicholas with her project at Mellons Bay Beach this Saturday can just turn up.

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