Monday, December 21, 2015

the forgotten world highway

As you may know, I'm obsessed with volcanoes. I came to New Plymouth because of Taranaki, a perfect cone.
But this city, far on the west coast, is home to a rising art scene. Kinetic artist Len Lye came from New Plymouth, and although he died in 1980, his work is still being constructed from detailed notes. 
This new wing of the Govett–Brewster Art Gallery  was just named one of the top 10 cultural attractions in the world, along with the Broad in LA and Renzo Piano's reinvention of The Whitney. 
His Four Fountains is nothing short of dazzling.
Each moves independently to music. 
Your body sways in response. 
Lye's most famous work here is his Wind Wand on the walkway. I'll see it tomorrow. 
My timing couldn't be better. I'm staying at Arcadia, a charming B&B/hostel. And the Festival of Lights is on, the first holiday event I've been in a town for. 
As it gets dark, the lights come up. 
Pukekura Park is filled with creatures and disco balls and day-glo stencils. 
This is the Poet's Bridge. 
Fountains flash in colors. 
Even without the Disney treatment this giant ficus is amazing. 
In case you want to know how popular this is, when I got back the German guys were playing Kiwi Monopoly. 
And what's Boardwalk? The Festival of Lights.