On June 21, Opened Stone was unveiled at the Manukau Domain in Lynfield. This deceptively simple structure was hand-carved in 1971 by Japanese artist Hiroaki Ueda, from a large block of red African granite.
Commissioned by the New Zealand Society of Sculptors and Painters for the 1971 International Sculpture Symposium celebrating Auckland’s centenary, Opened Stone was then placed in the forecourt of the Auckland Art Gallery. In 2008 when the Art Gallery underwent renovations, the sculpture was placed in storage, until its installation overlooking the Manukau Harbour in June.
Artist Bronwen Muir was assistant to Ueda during his residency at the symposium. She describes Ueda as a “quiet gentleman with a fascinating life.” He was born to a Samurai family, and even recruited as a kamikaze pilot during the war, though he was never sent on a mission. Muir tells the story that Ueda was once imprisoned by his Kyoto University students for three days and three nights for his refusal to allow the use of power tools. He did not give in.
Before Ueda passed away in 1997, he had requested that the work be positioned overlooking the sea. The position selected overlooking the Manukau Harbour, is truly a worthy location, and it is such a privilege to have this beautiful sculpture in “our back yard”.
Opened Stone is Ueda’s only work on display outside of Japan.
Watch the 3 min Auckland Council video backgrounding the project here>>