Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens NZ — 2009

Proclaiming 'I' in the landscape, Babel greets visitors as they descend the long drive into Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens. The figure initially strikes a heroic pose but in profile its muscular I-form splits into two and reveals a hesitant grip on the text. Pinched between columns of rough masonry, the translucent sheaf of glass is suspended in a shaft of light; a void between pillars of stone. Evoking the ancient parable of the Tower of Babel – where ambition and humility collided and the languages of the world dispersed – the freestanding 'I' looks out while it is looked at. Stationed in a quintessential rural New Zealand landscape, Babel parries with masculine idioms and icons that shape a cultural psyche – from John Mulgan's Man Alone (1939) to Colin McCahon's Victory Over Death II (1960), and beyond.