Ralph Hotere’s imposing artwork Rain (1979) will be familiar to a generation of University of Otago humanities students because it was commissioned by the university in 1979, and, once adorned the foyer of the original Hocken Library building (now known as the Richardson building). The work’s title references a poem written by the much loved New Zealand poet – the late Hone Tuwhare. Excerpts from Tuwhare’s poem ‘Rain’ are stamped and scrawled across the bottom reaches of the artwork’s three, unprimed canvas lengths.
The Hocken’s mezzanine floor enables visitors to experience this work ‘up close and personal’ and from a range of different aspects. Before Rain could be hung a special steel rigging had to be engineered and erected across existing roof trusses. While the three banners are lightweight, the perspex backing panels erected to support the fragile work weigh some 70 kilograms.
Next time you enter the Hocken Library look skyward and be entranced by the beauty of Rain! Read what the Otago Daily Times published about the rehung banners here.
Natalie Poland, Curator of Pictorial Collections