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Saturday, 17 November 2018 03:30 am

Sculpture a solstice sacrifice in Wellington

 

Artist Leda Farrow with her sacrificial creation being burned tonight on Wellington’s waterfront.

A cardboard harpy monster will be burnt on Wellington waterfront this evening to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Artists Leda Farrow, Jen Eccles, Andrew Laking and a small army of volunteers took 109 hours to construct the cardboard and paper mache monster.

Leda Farrow, a fine arts graduate of Massey University, described the creation as “quite twisted, a bit creepy”.

The piece is called Seraphina.

Seraphina was created through a synthesis of Balinese and pagan influences.

The team was mainly inspired by the Ogoh-Ogoh demons of the Balinese “Day of Silence”, where the demon effigies are paraded around villages and then burnt in cemeteries.

“They’re meant to represent the impurities of humans, and they’re very creepy, but very colorful and festive at the same time,” says Ms Farrow.

“We were very inspired by that.”

The demon has been on display in Wellington Central Library’s foyer since June 6.

It is part of a larger festival of winter celebrations called Lōemis.

Visitors were invited to interact with the sculpture.

A small table held pencils and paper to write messages to the creature, who holds an egg and has a second mouth in her chest.

Things people want to dispel from their life are written down and placed in the chest mouth to be ‘consumed’.

The egg is for people to place messages that invite positive elements into their lives.

“The egg is a symbol of fertility, rebirth and new beginnings,” says Ms Farrow.

“It’s the idea of being able to rid those awful negative energies of winter.”

The sculpture’s appearance is confrontational, but could have been even more eye-catching.

“Originally she was going to have nipples,” says Ms Farrow.

But Wellington Central Library thought that was too risque, so the design was scaled back a bit.

Seraphina holding the egg for positive messages of change in Wellington Library. It will be burned tonight on Wellington Waterfront.

The materials for Seraphina were taken from recycling dumps and bins, and paint was donated by Resene.

Ms Farrow’s colleague Jen Eccles, who works as a set designer, used a technique that involved looping cardboard and stapling the rings closed to construct the sculpture.

Paper mache made of the outer layer of the cardboard was applied to hold the rings together.

The Wellington-based artist  is currently working on her masters degree, and is interested in animated figures and performance.

Ms Farrow is excited to see Seraphina engulfed in flames.

“What I love about this effigy is that it’s animated by fire. You light it and it has it’s life for 10 minutes or so while it’s burning.”

The parade starts at 5:30pm in Civic Square.

Accompanied by a live band, Seraphina will be escorted to Wairepo Lagoon.

She will put out on a raft and set ablaze.

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