No visit to the Convent Gallery is complete without a meander through the award winning gardens surrounding the building. Eye-catching artwork, elegant bronze sculptures and awe-inspiring views contrast with the fragrant and colorful gardens that have blossomed in the rich volcanic soil.
Art and Sculpture Park
Restored to its previous glory, the garden not only displays beautiful native plants, but hidden amongst the shrubbery are fine works of art.
Walking up from the car park at the base of the gallery (which once used to be the Convent’s tennis court) you come across the first work of art, hidden beneath the shade of one of the many trees. It is a park bench, formed by a stork; old and attacked by the elements. You get a real feeling of what once used to be.
As you’re approaching the huge front entrance you stumble across the guard of the convent. He has amazing character, and you can almost see the wisdom in his eyes and face. He has been strategically placed so that the first thing you notice is the huge façade of the Convent, but then you get the feeling that past eyes are watching over you and the gallery. This is when you first notice the amazing chainsaw sculpture of this gentleman.
The pieces of art displayed around the garden have been carefully hand picked so that they blend in with the tranquil surrounds of the gardens. Towards the entrance of the Convent, all pieces are wooden with rusted brass or metal attachments, blending into the garden and the façade of the building. These old, rustic pieces give the air of past times, and the feeling that you could be taken back to the 1800’s in the blink of an eye.
Towards the entrance of the chapel, more modern works of art are displayed. These sculptures are ceramic and are coated in a mosaic fashion with small tiles. Although these pieces are very striking, once again they blend in with their surroundings as there is quite a bit of white wrought iron flanking the balconies on the side of the Convent.
Each piece has been placed in a location that highlights its individual beauty and character. The stork seat is placed in the shade of the trees so travellers can rest their weary feet, and interact with the art. The sentinel figure has been placed once again in the shadows to give the feeling that visitors are being observed from the shadows. The bolder pieces are free standing in bright and glorious sunshine, saying ‘look at me’ while the others are scattered along the walking path, escorting you on your journey.
All in all the curators have made the gardens a work of art in themselves. Each individual piece has been chosen to give the history of the convent and try to bring it to life. The pieces strategically placed to not take away from the gardens or the building. They are displayed in such a way that the garden becomes an adventure to explore and enjoy.