Chris Booth makes sculptures to engage and enlarge our sympathies. They encourage us to acknowledge New Zealand as Aotearoa, a place of beauty where the guests must learn to honour the hosts and to show courtesy and respect to the land we both share.
The conservation of native trees and plants is a theme central to most of Booth’s sculpture. Nga Tamariki A TANE was the large sculpture he made for the Auckland City Art Gallery in 1983. It was a combination of ancient Puriri stumps, the remains of trees felled last century, and tree limbs, made into huge swamp birds, Kotuku and Karuhiruhi, whose breeding habitat is being destroyed by erosion.
In 1985, Chris Booth began using bronze again. He developed a method of casting in open air, often using sand and horse dung moulds which he imprinted with nikau fronds and other debris from forest or beach. He poured the bronze on to the indentations with the resulting lace-like castings becoming wings of swamp birds etc.
Chris Booth is a Pakeha artist who is constantly aware of and attracted by the depth and wisdom of Maori culture at a time when curators, critics and artists are confronted by the issue of appropriation.
As one Maori woman commented, ‘I take great care in saying this as a Maori woman... Chris Booth’s work has an integrity and understanding of the land - as his land; of space - as his space - which makes it indigenous.’
Chris Booth is producing at least six works for the Fisher Gallery all relating to special places in Northland, and he is casting the bronze on location. All the works relate to the sea with the inspiration of waves and their flow.
→ If Words Fail Sculpture Can Say It All, New Zealand Herald, 30-03-1987
→ Spacious Feel To Fine Sculptures, New Zealand Herald, 1987