In September, the artist Wendy Hannah assembled Liberty-Herekoretanga inside the Botany Town Centre. Featuring 31,872 camelia flowers made from recycled bottles, it pays homage to the work of world-leading suffrage heroines. It’ll be up for a year, providing visitors to the mall a moment of contemplation.
It marks 100 years since New Zealand became the first country in the world to recognise women’s right to vote. As part of the campaign, Kate Sheppard and her fellow suffragettes presented 13 petitions, totalling – yes – 31,872 signatures; in the 1890s the white camelia became a symbol of women’s suffrage.
Hannah started working on the project in 2018 and has led schools and community groups throughout Aotearoa in workshops to make camelia flowers from recycled drink bottles, while talking about the history of women’s rights.
It’s also intended to draw attention to more contemporary issues of consumption and waste, “while highlighting the potential for beauty and creativity in recycled objects”.
The installation in Botany is supported by Arts Out East and Te Tuhi, working with Botany Town Centre. Its place in a mall is significant. “Art has the ability to make change,” says Hannah. “It is a gentle way to communicate from a basic level of understanding.”
Botany Town Centre