The artist’s billboard project is an initiative by Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in partnership with Westfield NZ Ltd, in which artists make work for commercial billboards sited across the road from Te Tuhi in a shopping precinct.
Action for another library sees Melbourne artist Tom Nicholson work with both the billboard site and the neighbouring Pakuranga Library. Nicholson is gaining acclaim in Australia for his politically and socially engaged artworks. Created in response to conflict in East Timor, Action for another library documents a direct action by the artist and his wider community which reacted to the crisis in a direct way.
Collecting together thousands of books donated by bookstores, libraries and individuals, Nicholson shipped these to Dili in containers where they now form part of the new National University Library of East Timor, replacing libraries and books destroyed in the conflict.
As an artwork, Action for another library consists of a series of traces; recording or responding to both the initial destruction and Nicholson’s own personal response. Overlaying the vibrant reality of the community library next door, the billboards depict archival images of bunt out libraries. These images, Nicholson says, “focus on residues: the vestiges of burnt books still sitting on the shelves, and the scorch marks left above by each burnt book, with its echo of a photographic process.”
Tom Nicholson’s work is displayed on three billboards across the road, and at the Pakuranga Library, 7 Aylesbury Street, Pakuranga.