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Sculptor Tim Elliot wins

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tim Elliot’s artwork is proving popular among the people of Hamilton. In two separate yet concurrent, nationally notified open competitions hosted in Hamilton, Tim has been rewarded with the winning entry in both by public endorsement.

Tim was judged winner for his concept for a Dame Hilda Ross Commemorative Statue commissioned by Hamilton’s TOTI Trust, and was voted "People’s Choice Winner" for his sculpture at the 2017 Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art Award.

Local group TOTI called nationally for artist concepts for the statue and after significant public consultation, Tim Elliot’s ‘Where health joins hands with happiness’ concept came up tops.

Tim is very happy to be winning national competitions that are voted for and by the people because his art aims "to provide content that appeals to everybody. It is my belief that art ought to be read as no more than something inherently beautiful, accessible to all, understood and appreciated by everyday people", says Elliot.

His No 8 Wire sculpture is entitled ‘999 eight-gauge seeds of inspiration, 31 scoops of sunshine’. The abstracted sunflower features 999 lengths of eight-gauge wire set out in the Fibonacci spirals exhibited by sunflower seeds. The seeds are mounted on the domed surface of a LED light, giving the sculpture a second purpose as a functional lamp. The petals of the sunflower are 31 ‘Kiwiscoops’, and the entire assembly is mounted on No.8 wire atop a cast iron wheel.

Tim’s statue concept entitled ‘Where health joins hands with happiness’ depicts Dame Hilda Ross playing the piano for children at the Port Waikato Children’s health camp. "Tim’s concept was a favourite throughout the public consultation period", says Mavora Hamilton from TOTI Trust "because of its contemporary feel bridging the past to the present. Tim designed a bronze piece that the public can interact with, and that has appeal for adults and children alike. Dame Hilda dedicated her life to improving the lives of others. For generations to come this statue will continue to give back to the community just as she did."

Dame Hilda (1883-1959) was a notable high-ranking politician but was always considered approachable. Tim’s concept cleverly portrays this important personable quality and other distinctive characteristics. Dame Hilda is shown to be enthusiastic, cheerful and bright.

"I am humbled by the overwhelming support the people of Hamilton have given in their endorsement of my bright and cheerful style of sculpture through two quite separate, and entirely differently themed, concurrent art competitions", says Tim Elliot.

Tim has been designing and sculpting in 3D for over forty years, winning many accolades along the way. He is a leading, independent, technologically resourced New Zealand based 3D artist. Having been at the forefront of computer aided design since its inception, Tim will use a variety of cutting-edge technologies to model and manufacture components within the Dame Hilda Ross sculpture. Dame Hilda Ross herself will be generated in 3D from digitized 2D photographs. A 3D print will be created with detail applied in wax, and then cast in bronze.

Dame Hilda’s significant political accomplishments and ‘hands-on’ attitude stemmed from her early days of social activism, particularly concerning the welfare of women and children. She was a co-founder of health camps for children from impoverished backgrounds. Every summer for 25 years she was Camp Mother at Port Waikato and organised nightly concerts. In Tim’s concept, the camp motto "Where health joins hands with happiness" is emblazoned on the front panel of the piano.

Dame Hilda’s first political appointment was to the Waikato Hospital Board, and the statue will be sited on the corner of Ward Street and Worley Place in the area where she was such a presence in city affairs for half a century.

TOTI are presently fundraising for the commemorative statue and are grateful to have recently received a grant from Trust Waikato. The public unveiling is planned for 26 May 2018, the 73rd anniversary of her victory in the 1945 Hamilton by-election which began her Parliamentary career. She was Hamilton’s Deputy Mayor at the time. In 1949 she became Minister for the Welfare of Women and Children for the first National government, claiming additional departmental responsibilities including child welfare, pre-schools, juvenile courts and women’s borstals, and the health camps. In 1957 she became Minister of Social Security.

Recently the council voted unanimously to rename Ward Street East ‘Dame Hilda Ross Way’ and TOTI have also asked the Waikato District Health Board to consider naming their new central city facility in the converted Farmers building, the Dame Hilda Ross Health Centre. 

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