French connection in miniature monuments on show in Auckland
“An art exhibition in Parnell is creating a unique opportunity to see in miniature a monument by a New Zealand artist to honour the 500-strong NZ Tunnelling Company who served in Arras, France during WWI.
Paris-based sculptor Marian Fountain spent 22 months designing, creating and overseeing production of The Earth Remembers. The 3.5m high bronze sculpture, with grass at its summit, was unveiled in April at Carriere Wellington, a war memorial and museum in northern France, to mark the centenary of the Battle of Arras.
Commissioned and funded by the NZ Lottery Grants Board and the City of Arras, it is dedicated to the memory of the NZ Tunnelling Company for its work in the underground quarries of Arras.
The company, comprised of men from mining towns across New Zealand, was the first NZ contingent onto the Western Front, and the last to leave, and its work played a vital role during World War I in capturing German lines and transporting injured Allied soldiers to safety.
Like the full-size monument, the miniatures feature the silhouette of an NZ tunneller in a lemon-squeezer hat. She says this cavity represents those who gave their lives during World War I and the gap it left in the lives of families and communities.
Fountain’s work, and that of 31 other artists, can be seen in the Upheaval – Reconstruct exhibition at ARTIS Gallery until July 16.”
Photo / Jonathan Gooderham