Denis O'Connor

Mudsled (XXII) For the Waders of Aotearoa (in memory of D.M.)

Mudsled (XXII) For the Waders of Aotearoa (in memory of D.M.) by Denis O'Connor

Artwork Detail

Denis O'Connor is a weaver of stories, of poetic imaginings relating to the heroic history of ordinary folk, both here and in his father's native Ireland. This story tells of the special wishing trees to which many Irish communities fasten material tokens of their aspirations, fears and yearnings. Part of a series called Branches from the Wishing Tree, Mudsled was made during O'Connor's year as Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin. 'Pushed for miles out onto the mudflats in Wales and Ireland, amidst the wading birds to the shellfish beds; a celebration of the food-gathering ritual again - I've collected seafood all my life'. This little sled has moved from Ireland to New Zealand and carries a load of stone shellfish - cockles and mussels, pipi and kuku. Journeying out to the shellfish beds at low tide, the sled passes the native wading birds of Aotearoa, their names incised on its deck. The players in this narrative are all endangered - shellfish, wading birds, mudflats, estuaries, and shared community aspirations. Swamps are drained, timber-felling silts up harbours, the inhabitants lose their habitats and the shellfish gatherers their harvest. Mudsled is a plea for all of them, resting on a wishing tree, honouring the human urge to ask for blessings - and to work for them. (from The Guide, 2001)

Mudsled (XXII) For the Waders of Aotearoa (in memory of D.M.)
Denis O'Connor
Production date
south island limestone
920 x 589 x 338 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1986
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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