Client: Auckland Council
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $200,000
Lang Ea Studio
Byrne Chris and Ian Ashton
Zumtobel lighting Group(ZG NZ)
Multi award winning sculpture symbolises the courageous and significant achievements of the suffragettes more than a century ago and lights the way for women in the present and future.
A poignant quote by Kate Sheppard in her fight for equal recognition of women in New Zealand in the late 1800s: “We are tired of having a ‘sphere’ doled out to us, and of being told that anything outside that sphere is ‘unwomanly’.” This sentiment forms part of the inspiration for the artwork.
With a symbolic violet camellia silhouette at its core and standing 2.5-metres tall, the striking mirrored surface provokes and plays with light, colour and reflections during both day and night. The white camellia was a symbol of New Zealand’s suffrage movement and the colour violet was adopted by suffrage petitioners to represent dignity and self-respect. At night a soft violet hue washes over Beacon and shafts of light beam into the sky, honouring the vision, tenacity and leadership of Kate Sheppard, while speaking to contemporary themes of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Beacon conveys a message in celebration of the legacy of Kate Sheppard, the suffragettes and women everywhere.
Artist, Lang Ea was commissioned to create a sculpture to commemorate Kate Shepherd and the suffragette movement, honoring the vision, tenacity, and leadership of Kate Sheppard, while speaking to contemporary themes of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The sculpture was engineered by Envivo Engineering and manufactured by Global Stainless, fabrication and polishing of stainless-steel sculptures and fine artworks.
The sculpture required large sheets of stainless-steel plate to be welded together and it is a testament to the skills of the fabricators and polishers that these joined weld seams are not visible on the finished sculpture. The footing of the sculpture was a crucial design component, which required a sophisticated design that enabled the sculpture to appear elegant, weightless and free -standing once installed.
The lighting concept was a critical design feature and an essential element in continuing the suffragette narrative. A violet hue, symbolising dignity and self-respect, shines beyond daylight and into the night, with an additional shaft of light beaming into the night sky like a beacon to women everywhere.
Zumtobel lighting Group specified 4 BEGA RGBWA luminaires fixed on purple, the lighting effect is controlled using the latest Tridonic Basic Dim technology. The lights are energy-efficient and of a high quality, to ensure a long and economic working life. They are also DFD (Designed For Disassembly at end of life) and 100% recyclable.
Won a Gold and a bronze award in the Best Design Awards 2020 (DINZ (Design institute NZ)), and selected finalists for all three entered categories. Designed object, Ligting and Public good. Judge's comment: A striking statement with embedded symbolism, prominent in the landscape yet understated as the reflective surface's blends into the environment. A fantastic example of vision executed through fabrication and craftsmanship.