James Wright Seven Sisters, 2019
Corten Steel and stainless steel, 3500 x 4500 x 4500 mm approx.
Seven Sisters are the seven points of a fallen star representing the Pleiades, a cluster of stars situated in the constellation of Taurus. Often referred to as the Seven Sisters, in Aotearoa we know the cluster as Matariki. When it rises in the north-eastern skies in late May or early June, Matariki signals the start of the new year. In one tradition, Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Waiti, Waitā, Waipuna-a-rangi and Ururangi. Waiheke’s night sky is a perfect place to view the Sisters and on clear nights the sky offers some of the best stargazing in Auckland.
The work also references the headland on the southern point of Matiatia Bay, known as Te Whetumatarau or the The Many Pointed Star. From this ancient headland, Māori would have been able to study the stars to guide them through the changing seasons and to help them to prepare for ocean voyages. Seven Sisters pays homage to the mana and wairua of this land, the waters and island of the Gulf and speaks to the cultural significance of this landscape beneath our feet and the starry skies above. The sculptured forms represent the Sisters shining brightly in the night sky, sailing across the seas keeping an ever-watchful eye over us.
Born Auckland. Lives and works in Clevedon.
James Wright is a self-taught sculptor and has been creating sculpture in New Zealand fulltime for the last 20 years. He is inspired by the natural surroundings of both his Clevedon Valley home and Waiheke Island, where he has owned a property for over two decades. He attributes a lot of his character and style to his late father; he grew up watching his dad in the farm shed, repairing and making all types of useful pieces. The shaping of the land has also influenced him; working with nature’s physical forms and elements has given him an appreciation of natural beauty and nature’s presence. Wright has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and has works and commissions in public and private collections. His work Whakaparirau (To equip with wings) was installed in a pocket park at Hauraki Corner, Takapuna, in 2012. Pride is positioned in front of the Pukekohe Town Hall, and he was the winner of Sculpture on the Gulf People’s Choice Award, 2015.