The Golden Promise, 2014
Glitter, automotive paint on fibreglass
3025 (H) x 1500 (W) x 4500 (L) mm
Commissioned by Massey University, Albany for their 50th Heritage Jubilee Year, The Golden Promise celebrates the Universities history as an agricultural college and the agricultural history of Albany. The Main Campus and the Oteha Rohe Campus of Massey University has long associations with farming, and in Albany Village the chicken has long been a symbol of this community.
The chicken is a powerful recurring symbol in western discourse and history as the archetype of Mother and Child. It is from these historical and symbolic identifiers that focus A Golden Promise back to the maternal and paternal roles of the university through the past, present, and future.
The well known idiom ‘Under it’s Wings’ has the etymology of the bird protecting it’s babies and beautifully describes in regard to tutelage, a place where students are nurtured by school or tutor, because the school receives students into their care, so they are helped and protected. In the sculptures upright position, the community of Massey University, when traversing toward it from the Northern entrance, walk directly into the idiom of embrace and nurture. When encountered from the South, the shape of the wing creates a gateway framed by wing tip and wingette in the shape of a capital A - a new type of cloister through which to enter into the embrace and issue forth into the university in a veil of protection.
The maternal aspects of a university are also celebrated in a paternal role through the colour gold, the colour and valuable metal acknowledging a 50th year anniversary. As an anniversary’s symbol of optimism and wealth gold celebrates the union of the university, to the community, and the continued connection it has to the village’s iconography and nostalgia.
Video: Bridget Webber