‘Woman of Words’, a sculpture commemorating the life and work of Wellington and New Zealand’s most internationally recognised literary figure, Katherine Mansfield, has been selected for Midland Park on Lambton Quay in Wellington.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says “Katherine Mansfield fled from the Wellington of her day to lead a brief, passionate, brilliant life that has become the stuff of legend. This sculpture, in its central position at Midland Park, will be a wonderful way to rekindle interest in her life and work, and bring her back to a more cosmopolitan and vibrant Wellington.”
Woman of Words is a contemporary sculpture; a three metre high stainless steel figure, depicting Katherine Mansfield striding along the Quay. The entire surface of the sculpture will be laser cut with words and phrases from her writing presenting information about Mansfield the writer, the woman and her New Zealand childhood.
During the day the sculpture will reflect the movement, colours and ambience of the surrounding area. At night, Woman of Words will become an illuminated lantern. Amber lights placed below the base of the silver figure will reflect off the inner surfaces of the filigreed sculpture to create a surface of radiant silhouetted words.
Katherine Mansfield’s ambition was to be seen ‘first as a writer and then as a woman’; with this in mind, Virginia says of her work she has aspired to capture the essence of Katherine Mansfield while celebrating her literary heritage.
Chair of the Wellington Sculpture Trust Neil Plimmer says the artwork will be a major addition to Wellington’s collection of world class public sculpture. “It is new territory for the Trust to commission a work commemorating a single figure, and it is a matter of pride for the city to see one of its most famous daughters celebrated in this way.
“We are also delighted to have a work in Wellington by such a respected sculptor as Virginia King. She is a master in her creative approach and equally in her skill with her chosen materials,” Mr Plimmer said.
Fundraising by the Katherine Mansfield Society and the Wellington Sculpture Trust is the current focus of the project team, as without the necessary funding the project cannot go ahead.