This installation comprises a set of 150 intricately stenciled birds that swoop overhead in a suspended swirling murmuration over a 25-metre walkway. At dusk, the birds are illuminated and change colour in unison to give the illusion of flight, mirroring the crowds of people as they walk together below, to retreat to the other side of the lake for contemplation.
In commissioning the work, Paul Northup, Greenbelt’s Creative Director said: “A murmuration is something ephemeral, rare, deeply beautiful and deeply affecting. In this way, we are suggesting that the festival experience – and the experience of retreat and reflection within it – although transient, can cumulatively can add real strength, purpose and lasting impact.”
The bird is a universal metaphor for peace and the presence of spirit. A flock of birds dancing in formation can be seen as a mesmerizing expression of spiritual unity. As we all come together to enjoy the unique experience that is the Greenbelt Festival, the image works succinctly to remind us of the pressing need for all people to come together in love at this time.
Nicola Marie Haines is an Artist, Interior Design Architect and Teacher who has designed art installations for festivals and events in New Zealand for the past 10 years.
She draws on 25 years of experience in the creative industry to produce large-scale sculptural pieces for light and music festivals, and landscape projects.
She has designed and implemented installations for the Festival of Lights, New Plymouth, NZ, since 2007. Her work has contributed significantly to the Festival’s popularity. Considered a major summer cultural event since 1993, the festival attracts 100,000 people annually. Her installations have also been featured at the Botanic Gardens, Wellington and Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Warkworth, Auckland.
Nicola’s installations explore the structural complexity of the natural world and our deep relationship with it. They work as an intimate and surreal platform to reflect on our fragile and precious natural environment, while playing on the sheer childlike excitement of being in the forest late at night.