In between the two recent large Seddon earthquakes I revisited Christchurch. The joke at the time was that I was going to escape the earthquakes. Of course, I didn’t escape them. And in Christchurch, even two-and-a-half years after their big one, it is impossible to escape the earthquakes. The tremors may have stopped but there are reminders of the tragedy nearly everywhere.
We were staying just east of the city centre where the roads are consistently wonky, houses abandoned, and work crews are ubiquitous.
On a walk around the central city I was taken aback by the state of things. I don’t know how any one could fail to be; it just looks wrong. But one pleasing, and surprising, thing that did strike me was the number, range and scale of deliberate (or inadvertent) installation art works.
And the art isn’t confined to the streets. A number of artists and documentary photographers have taken to exploring the city and recording the experience – Auckland-based Wayne Wilson-Wong, Christchurch-based Tim Veling and Christchurch-born, Auckland-based David Straight.
Some are even turning waste into art. And I’m sure there are numerous other artists responding to the earthquakes and their aftermath too.
Back to my walk around the city, there was one place I had to visit: the Christchurch Cathedral. I shed a couple of tears when I saw the condition of it; up close was quite shocking.
We left just a few days before the official opening of the replacement cathedral, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to poke my head in, but a walk by was mandatory.