Thursday, January 3, 2013

Penguin art trail planned for Christchurch

Last updated 04/01/2013

GAMES ART: Wild in Art London Olympics mascot Wenlock across the River Thames from the tower of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Giant-sized penguins could become the squawk of Christchurch under an ambitious plan to create a temporary art trail in the city.

The fibreglass penguins will stand about 1.5 metres tall and be used as 3D canvases for the creativity of Christchurch.
Local artists will be engaged to bring the penguins to life, and the flightless birds will be on display for about 10 weeks before being auctioned to raise money for charity.

The idea for the Wild in Art project came from Liverpool, where in 2008 more than 100 fibreglass superlambananas - a cross between a ewe and a banana - appeared almost overnight in the streets of the English city.

Thousands of visitors flocked to the city to see the whimsical sculptures, which quickly won the hearts of Liverpudlians.

Artists, schools and community groups were involved in designing the superlambananas, each of which was auctioned at the end of the 10-week event. The auction raised more than £500,000 for charity. One sold for £25,000 and is now on display in the Museum of Liverpool.

The idea has been picked up by other cities around the world, including London and Melbourne.
Claire Cowles worked on the Liverpool project and is driving the plan for Christchurch's penguin invasion.

Cowles moved to Christchurch with her husband and two young children in March last year and instantly spotted the potential for a project here.

She reckons it will take about 12 months to get the required sponsorship and arrangements in place but hopes that this time next year about 50 giant-sized penguins will be drawing visitors to the city.
The penguins, chosen because of Christchurch's links to the Antarctic, will be strategically dotted around Christchurch in easily accessible areas.

"It is a really fun time for a city. The tourists love it. People will travel far and wide," Cowles said.
"There's generally an app connected to it, and people set up Facebook pages where they discuss which one is their favourite and why. The public really take them to heart."


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