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Companion Programme

Wild on Waiheke, Waiheke Island

Explore Wild Estate with James Wright

James and Jorge Wright are father and son artists who share both a passion for sculpture and their workshop space on the family’s Clevedon property. They both see themselves as story tellers, whose works should create a presence and be able to tell their own stories.

James has exhibited work at two previous Sculpture on the Gulf (SOTG) events: in 2015 and 2019. This year he is working on a piece to appear at SOTG’s companion event at family owned winery, Wild Estate Vineyard, while also taking on an ambassadorial role and providing mentoring to other artists – including Jorge, who will be exhibiting work in the headland exhibition for the first time .

SOTG has been on Jorge’s radar since childhood, but 2022 will be his first experience as artist rather than spectator. As a child, each time he visited the exhibition, he would post his feedback as to how the event could be improved into the suggestion box: “put my father in the exhibition”.

In 2015, his suggestion was heeded: James’ Corten steel work entitled ‘Target’ made a triumphant appearance and was awarded ‘People’s Choice’. Four years later, ‘Seven Sisters’ made a striking presence on the headland known as Te Whetūmatarau.

James has something of a reputation in SOTG circles for producing works of grand scale , and his intention is for his next piece to be his grandest yet – limited only by the logistics of getting it to its stunning site among Wild Estate Vineyard’s seven acres of vines in Onetangi Valley.

The owners of Wild Estate and Wild on Waiheke, Keryn and Simon Matthews , are already big fans of James’ work, having collaborated with him over the years to add to their collection of Corten steel sculptural pieces.

“We absolutely loved James’ entry in Sculpture on the Gulf 2015, entitled ‘Target’, which won the People’s Choice Award that year,” explains Keryn. “So much so that we commissioned James to create a smaller scale version of the piece for our vineyard.”

“Since then, James has worked with us on a number of projects, including his wonderful ‘Just Chilling Dog’, which is a real favourite with our customers. My friends have actually nicknamed me Corten Keryn, as I’m a little bit obsessed with it – I love how it rusts and blends in beautifully with the environment.”

Wild Estate will also host SOTG22’s an artisan dinner which will partner James with Wild On’s resident chef, Brendon Harris. Harris is responsible for all the delicious food and local produce that is served in Wild Estate’s restaurant, and his pizzas are rumoured to be the best on the island.

For his part, James is looking forward to once again being part of the unique community of artists involved in the festival, and sharing his knowledge and experience in creating and installing large scale sculptures. He is excited to be part of the SOTG 2022 companion event at Wild Estate Vineyard, acting as an ambassador for the entire event which he says has given him so much.

To view more of Jame’s work head to jameswright.co.nz