Hero photograph
Light up project, lanterns lit up
Photo by Leoni Combrink

Light It Up!

Brenda Nightingale —

Light It Up! is a collaborative art project by the Year 10 Art/Technology class at Hagley College. Working with light sculptures, the class hopes to shine light on the future of Ōtautahi while evoking memories of the city’s heritage architecture.

Year 10 students at Hagley College have been working in an Art/Technology collaborative class in 2018. This is a new initiative designed to meet the needs of 21st Century learners by offering project-based opportunities for students to engage across curriculum areas. Light It Up! is the result of this collaborative initiative that we developed to enter the Christchurch City Council competition to develop a public art installation for the ShoPOP Enliven Spaces programme. We have extended the collaboration to include a partnership with The Physics Room contemporary art space to give students a taste of what it is like to work within the public art community and which we envisage as the beginning of an ongoing partnership.


The three-dimensional shapes we have chosen reference architectural features in Christchurch that were destroyed by the earthquake sequence of 2010 & 2011: neo-gothic turrets, spires, rose and stained-glass windows. By lighting these objects we aim to represent a hope for the future of the city. Light It Up! seeks to create connections between the past, the present, and the future. We are thinking about the well-known whakatauki, Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua: ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’, which speaks to Māori perspectives of time where the past, the present, and the future are viewed as intertwined, and life as a continuous cosmic process.

Students made light sculptures with stiff cardboard and LED lights in Term 1 2018, and our proposal was to scale these up. The objects appear to float and have been installed in the Vodafone Building in Poplar Lane and Vanguard Square.

The work is best viewed in the evening and at night and will be on show until the end of August.

Hagley College Year 10 Art/Technology class project from Terms 1 and 2, 2018 with teachers Brenda Nightingale and Colin Powick.