|Neil and I|
Sixth grade teacher Sharon Prestidge introduced me to two sixth grade girls, Millie and Tyler, who were organizing plans for the ceremony to open the time capsule.
It was a unique and special ceremony. I was struck by the attention to the Maori culture. Millie described the planned performances of haka (dance) by 30 students and mentioned to me that she was one of the dancers and that she and her mother were Maori.
|Tyler and me|
We moved slowly toward the sculpture and heard the school children singing a welcoming song to us.
|Sculpture and children|
Soon after, a group of 30 students began haka performances, a Maori cultural dance performed in a line. (For rugby fans, the All Blacks, New Zealand’s World Champion rugby team performs a haka facing the opposing team using loud and tough warrior moves meant to challenge the opponent.) Mapua School boys perform their own challenge.
Boys haka. Video: Jennifer Robins
When the girls did their performance it reminded me Hawaiian hula performances I had seen.
Girls haka. Video: Jennifer Robins
Soon attention went to opening the time capsule.
|Looking at capsule|
|Cutting capsule top|
Sharon Prestidge passes them to children.
And the capsule is carried back into the Mapua School’s front lobby to rest for twenty-five years until 2040 when it will be opened again.
Children’s artwork from the Mapua time capsule
Below are a few selected pieces of artwork made by Mapua children.
|Map of New Zealand|
|“The pukeko can be an annoying bird but beautiful in a quirky way.”|
|New Zealand’s signature bird, the kiwi, is flightless and is vulnerable to extinction.|
The following pieces were made by children in Vermont and Rhode Island.
This artwork was made by Japanese children in Izumi, Sendai, Japan.
|Could these be rice plants?|
Thoughts about the 1993-2015 World Sculpture Project
If I had to choose one word to describe this 23 years long art project, it would be connections.
My first intention was to connect people and cultures through art.
There are geographic connections between the sun-aligned sculptures at specific latitudes. Each sculpture has a unique alignment with the sun or stars. The first three sculptures were placed at 22 degrees north latitude in Honolulu, Hawaii; 45 degrees north latitude in Stanstead, Canada and 60 degrees north latitude in Olso, Canada.
When I was slow to find a sculpture site in Hawaii I decided on adding two pieces to the series: Sendai, Japan at 39 degrees north latitude and Mapua, New Zealand at 41 degrees south latitude.
Making art with children was the most satisfying for me, and just plain fun. I encouraged children to express their feelings: “What is important to you? What are your joys and worries?” They loved making art pieces that could be part of a larger sculpture project. Their enthusiasm was contagious.
And the joy of children singing songs during the final time capsule opening in Mapua will stay with me for my lifetime.
January 14, 2016