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Street Lamp Brings French touch to 'Solidarity Grid'

A Gallic street lamp from La Rochelle, France will be installed along Park Terrace in early October as part of Mischa Kuball’s progressive art project Solidarity Grid.

Mischa Kuball, Solidarity Grid, 2013 – La Rochelle street lamp in situ Park Terrace, Christchurch. Image is courtesy of Scape.

The sleek silver lamp donated by the French city of La Rochelle as a gesture of solidarity during Christchurch’s recovery and rebuild process is a physical representation of France’s support for Christchurch during this time of rebuild.

A dedication ceremony for Solidarity Grid will take place during the Opening Weekend of the SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial onSaturday 3 October at 4pm on the Armagh Street Bridge, at the Park Terrace end of Armagh Street. It is a free event open to the community and Germany-based artist Mischa Kuball will also be in attendance to discuss and celebrate his work.

“Mischa Kuball’s Solidarity Grid is a special body of work” says SCAPE Public Art Director Deborah McCormick. “It is great to see the collection of street lamps building along Park Terrace, and interesting to note the unique perspective each donor city takes through the lamp they kindly provide. Some are very elaborate, such as Wuhan, China’s custom-made lamp, others like La Rochelle are more subtle and reflective of daily life in their city.”

Cultural counsellor at the French Embassy, Mr Raynald Belay said “the Embassy of France and the city of La Rochelle are delighted to be taking part in Solidarity Grid, developing the ties between La Rochelle and Christchurch. Links between the two regions are longstanding with of course the notable arrival in Akaroa during the mid-nineteenth century of the French from Charente-Maritime, the region in which La Rochelle is located. This project is an enlightened gesture of solidarity and for the people of France, it is a demonstration of our desire to positively impact on and be present in the rebuild of Christchurch.”

SCAPE Public Art and the Embassy of France in New Zealand together approached La Rochelle city council to be involved in the project. The two cities are now united through the positive symbolism of light, strengthening ties between New Zealand and France.

The La Rochelle street lamp will join those already installed - from our sister cities of Adelaide, Australia; Kurashiki, Japan; Wuhan, China; Songpa, Korea; Christchurch, Dorset, United Kingdom; Gansu, China; as well as Düsseldorf, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Belgrade, Serbia; Sendai, Japan; Montreal, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Graz, Austria; and Singapore.

La Rochelle is a seaport city on the Atlantic coast of France. The Renaissance architecture, secret passageways and stone gargoyles bear witness to the city’s heritage as a fishing and trade stronghold since the 12th century. The picturesque Vieux Port (old port) contrasts with modern marina, Les Minimes, where over 3,500 yachts are moored in the tepid waters.

About Solidarity grid

Mischa Kuball’s Solidarity Grid is a legacy art project commissioned by the Christchurch City Council’s Public Art Advisory Group and produced by SCAPE Public Art over a period of three years, which began during the SCAPE 7 Public Art Christchurch Biennial in 2013.

Solidarity Grid is based on the act of giving and the positive symbolism of light. The project will bring a single streetlamp from each of 21 cities around the world to Christchurch, by the end of 2015.

Reflective of its donor city, each lamp has a very different look which makes an exciting, explorative trail along Park Terrace for cyclists and pedestrians. The lamps are donated by cities as a gesture of solidarity during Christchurch’s recovery and rebuild process.

The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial entitled New Intimacies is a Public Art Walkway to help people create new memories and re-connect with the changed Christchurch landscape.Curated by Rob Garrett, it will take place between 3 October and 15 November 2015. www.scapepublicart.org.nz/scape-8/


Published on 30th September 2015