Art by Liz Grant


Bronze Gallery

Welcome to the bronze gallery. Liz employs the lost wax process to create each of her unique pieces. Here Liz's bronze sculptures are presented in chronological order. Each has a description detailing the inspiration behind the piece. Please click on the sculptures to view a larger image.

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‘Bridge to Nowhere’ (2002)
155 x 477mm, height 230mm

The original bridge was built across the remote Mangapurua Valley of the upper Whanganui River. Not long after its completion in 1936 it was abandoned. In this piece, a giant native kauri snail (pupurangi) crawls to the end of the bridge with apparently nowhere to go and its future therefore uncertain.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Bridge to Extinction’ (2002)
155 x 477mm, height 417mm

A flax snail (pupuharakeke) reaches a point of balance on a bending flax leaf. Further movement down the leaf would result in falling onto the drawing pin below.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Nouvelle Kiwizine’ (2002)
260mm diameter, height 205mm

A selection of ‘kiwi’ native plants and animals have been ‘plated up’ ready to be eaten. The name for this piece references the french love for eating snails and the word for ‘fine dining’.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Bowl-a-Bird’ (2002)
174 x 255mm, height 174mm

The simple act of transferring a huia feather from the head of a Maori guide into the band of the bowler hat worn by the visiting Duke of York, to Rotorua in 1901, precipitated the immediate demise of the already greatly threatened huia. The demand for feathers escalated as people rushed to ‘procure’ their own and be wearers of the newly created ‘fashion statement’. The huia was literally ‘bowled over’.

nze Sculpture - Art
‘Hung Out to Dry I’ (2002)
155 x 477mm, height 445mm. Private collection.

Unprocessed flax leaves are incorrectly ‘hung out to dry’ on the aho tapu or sacred weaving thread. This alludes to the importance of passing the knowledge and cultural practices of weaving on to other generations as a taonga tuku iho or treasure handed down. A green lipped mussel shell (kutai) is used for stripping muka from the flax leaf.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Hung Out to Dry II’ (2002)
155 x 477mm, height 420mm

A collection of taonga (treasures) ‘hung out to dry’ on the weaving thread reminds us of the consequences if we do not act as guardians for them. Already, the sacred bird, the huia, has been lost. The phallic weaving peg represents the potential for life and the desire to bring back to life those elements lost and to energise those that still remain.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Waka for the Huia’ (2002)
200 x 760mm, height 563mm. Private collection.

A wakahuia is a carved lidded box for containing sacred huia feathers and other small taonga. This waka or canoe has no cover or means for ensuring that the huia feathers contained within are protected. They are consequently at risk of being lost, and is a reference to the extinction of the huia.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Kakapowai I’ (2003)
250 x 180mm, height 140mm

Kakapowai means water snatcher. A moment in time is captured as a giant dragonfly lands on a leaf of the hound’s tongue fern, growing near a stream, and then it is gone.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Kakapowai II’ (2003)
260 x 90mm, height 500mm

Again, a passing moment is captured when a giant dragonfly lands on top of a taurapa or waka stern, as it moves down a river.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Feather Box, Papahou’ (2003)
410 x 190mm, height 105mm

A play upon words. Another name for a treasure box (or wakahuia) is a feather box. Here, the box is literally constructed of feathers and the treasures contained are three huia eggs. Treasure boxes with a North Auckland provenance are rectilinear as opposed to the more ‘usual’ oval wakahuia and are termed papahou.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
Lid on
Bronze Sculpture - Art
Lid removed
‘Survey Peg I’ (2003)
145 x 75mm, height 520mm

A play upon words. This female tiki shows a face on both the reverse and obverse sides thus allowing ‘survey’ in both directions from a vantage point that takes on the form of a clothes peg.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Survey Peg II’ (2004)
270 x 20mm, height 420mm

Since colonial times land has been surveyed. Through the subsequent loss of land Maori have also lost access and control over native plants and animals. This survey peg references this change in land ownership. A Maori taonga the hei tiki on a European tool of land boundary demarkation indicates the position of Maori land. Letters, numbers and arrows inscribed on top of survey pegs relate to features of that boundary. Here Y 262, is actually the Wai 262 or the ‘Flora and fauna claim’ put forward by Maori, as referred to in Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi, whereby rights to flora and fauna and cultural knowledge persist, regardless of land ‘ownership’ changes.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Flora and Fauna’ (2004)
640 x 310mm, height 207mm

The large and distinctive leaf base of the nikau palm is a great water collecting vessel on the forest floor, and provides the required damp conditions for native frogs to live in.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Cloak for Sail (sale)’ (2004)
850 x 95mm, height 270mm

This is another pun or play upon words. A fragment of a feather cloak, kahu huruhuru, is depicted as a ‘sail’ for a waka , but refers also to the sale or trading of cloaks in colonial times.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Tree for Sail (sale)' (2004)
610 x 210mm, height 330mm

Kauri was an important timber for boat building and furniture making. The evenness of the grain made the wood ideal for masts. As with all large old trees, the kauri supports a multitude of other plants and animals, all of which perish as each tree is felled. As land was ‘sold’ so too were the natural communities living on it.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
‘Te Ao Marama, The World of Light’ (2004)
350 x 260mm, height 450mm

This piece is an interpretation of the separation story of Ranginui, the sky father, from the earth mother, Papatuanuku, and the subsequent entering of light, growth and knowledge into this world. The event of light’s passage, is represented by the takarangi or double spirals. Papa, is represented by the upper edge of a puipui, and the lower taniko edge of a kaitaka, represents Rangi.

The two parents lay in a perpetual embrace. Between them, lived their children within the world of night, or Te Po. Over time however, the children fidgeted and grew restless in this world of darkness, and eventually decided they must separate their parents. The children were, Tangaroa,-God of the sea, Tumatauenga,-God of man and war, Rongomatane,-God of agriculture, and Tane,-God of the forest, birds and other animals. Each tried in vain to push apart the lovers, but it was the lateral thinking and resourceful Tane, who thought to place his shoulders down onto the earth mother and push up with his legs, and finally brought about the separation.

Tane mated with many female forms and produced a multitude of children. The union with Rere-noa, created climbing plants such as the rata tree, and with Para-uri, tui was born. When Tane mated with Punga the offspring were insects and other ‘ugly’ creatures. Tane also adorned Rangi with stars, or nga whetü. The kauri tree is a representation of Tane’s name sake, Tane Mahuta of the Waipoua forest in Northland.

Bronze Sculpture - Art

Bronze Sculpture - Art

‘Weevil Knievel’ (2004)
300 x 100mm, height 280mm

A play upon words. Climbing up out of this vase a weevil demonstrates great feats of balance, control and tenacity, somewhat analogous to the daredevil stunts of Evel Knievel.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
'Frog-Fern' (2004)
70mm diameter, height 75mm. Private collection.

Both the kidney fern; Trichomanes reniforme and the native frog; Leiopelma archeyi require conditions of high humidity in which to live.

Bronze Sculpture - Art Bronze Sculpture - Art

'Kokopu' (2004)
170 x 55mm, height 57mm.
Private collection.

The native giant kokopu is a member of the galaxiidae family and lives in slow moving fresh water streams. It is also one of the whitebait species.

Bronze Sculpture - Art

'Whisp' (2005)
440 x 115mm, height 340mm.
Private collection.

Whisp is Liz's hanoverian mare who is bred for dressage. Her sire is 'Worldwide' and her dam is 'Dancing Queen'.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
Bronze Sculpture - Art
'Clematis in a Pot' (2006) (below far right)
530 x 111mm, height 1021mm.

Maori women often wove the flowering vines of Clematis paniculata, or Puawānanga, into a wreath to wear on the head. The design of this sculpture and the ones below reference the plants in pots on the walls of Rongopai on the East Coast.

Bronze Sculpture - Art

Bronze Sculpture - Art

Bronze Sculpture - Art
'Clematis Vase' (2006) (above)
220 x 170mm, height 295mm.
'Clematis Leaves' (2006) (above)
150 x 150mm, height 50mm.

'Clematis Flowers' (2006) (right)
230 x 100mm, height 15mm.

Bronze Sculpture - Art

'Moth Orchid in a Pot' (2006)
420 x 111mm, height 930mm.

Named by a Dutch botanist because of its resemblance to a moth - hence the name, Phalaenopsis. A moth detail features on the sculpture.

Bronze Sculpture - Art
Bronze Sculpture - Art
'Pittosporum michiei in a Pot' (2006)
400 x 111mm, height 1008mm.

Pittosporum michiei is a rare plant from Northland discovered by Liz's Grandfather, Ross Michie. Known to be the rarest plant of the North Cape, it is only found there on the serpentine cliffs. Nomenclature changed and it was later renamed.
Bronze Sculpture - Art
Bronze Sculpture - Art
'Lily Vase' (2006)
600 x 345mm, height 600mm.

Bronze Sculpture - Art

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