Skids – Brandford Park 2009

Whoa! – that’s a rich title for a toilet block artwork. Hey, I’m talking about logging skids: this Maitai Valley has a dominant land use of pine plantations. Harvesting of the trees on these often-steep slopes requires a skid site to drag logs to road head loading.

And then there’s the boy racer skids! If you were a Nelsonian in the early 2000s you would have heard the furore on local media about the ‘havoc’ the boy racers were creating at Branford Park, doing wheelies down the tarmac strip and ripping up the grass. Inspiring mark making for an artist who likes creating curved and bendy lines.

Nowadays, if the boy racers return to their old warrior grounds and look at Skids in their rear view mirror, they will read KEEP OFF THE GRASS. Not that they can get on it any more as it’s all bollard-edged and out of bounds. Lying in bed at night above Nile Street, I never objected to the engine roar as the convoy tore up the Maitai in the early hours of the morning, even when in mid summer it would wake the cicadas; it was simply another connection to ‘life outside my own’ and I welcomed the diversity within our little town.

There’s yet more seemingly random detail in Skids. Look for the B.B.Q. sausage on a stick; the Maori argillite quarrymen footsteps (Maori used the river as highway during their stone-age years of transporting rock from the hills high in the valley); the eels, cyclists, playground, swimmer, dog and, is that a plane or a bird? These are all icons of our well-used and much-loved Maitai Valley.

At night, some say it looks like Dame Edna Everage’s glasses.



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