Populate! update #30 (Tin men)

Behind the scenes

On 10 May 2063, Christchurch Art Gallery's fiftieth birthday, we'll qualify for gold. On its twenty-fifth birthday, in 2038, we'll find ourselves in the realm of silver.


Turning ten, however, takes you into less glamorous territory, as far as anniversary substances go. Today, ten years since the new Christchurch Art Gallery opened, we're celebrating our TIN anniversary.

Tins of peas. Tinny speakers. It's really not the most exciting material. But, thinking on it a bit longer, I can start to find a few reasons to see tin as a fitting substance.

Since we're lucky enough to be celebrating a birthday even while the Gallery's closed, we might be called tin-arsed in the positive sense. And isn't Christchurch itself a latter-day 'tin-town', to use the phrase employed by the people of Napier for the temporary city they erected in the wake of their big earthquake.

Plus, in a bit of artistic coincidence that we can now pretend we'd anticipated, some 'tin men' are being installed this very minute on Worcester Boulevard for the birthday celebrations. Two shiny, towering gnomes by sculptor Gregor Kregar.

Plaster or clay covered in brightly coloured paint is what humble garden gnomes are usually made of. But Kregar's gnomes have arrived in Christchurch fully armoured up for action. Chubby guardians for our shaken-about public art gallery. And comic-heroic ornaments for the post-quake 'garden city'.