James Wright’s 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.