Situated outside King Living, ‘A Fragile Tale to Tell’ is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, embracing flaws and imperfections to make the broken stronger and more beautiful.
Kintsugi is the art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. You can see this replicated on Wei Lun Ha’s tail with the immaculate gold detailing. The tail’s imagery is mirrored as a way of reflecting on what’s been previously broken. The practice of kintsugi uses this concept as a metaphor for healing ourselves; it teaches us the lesson that sometimes, in the process of repairing, we end up creating something more unique, beautiful and resilient.
Wei Lun Ha is a Vietnam-born Chinese New Zealander contemporary ink artist. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Auckland. In 2016 he won the Wallace Vermont award and was awarded a stipend to travel to New York and Vermont to complete a month in residency. He has also won the Parkins Drawing Prize twice, both in 2020 and 2021.
His usual practice is based around his keen interest in eco-friendly issues and contemporary identity in Chinese ink paintings which is continually evolving and not easily reducible to definite categories.
Wei Lun explores the ideas of personal stories in symbolic objects, diversity in cultural motifs, and gestures of fragility in life philosophies. The work’s complex interaction with Chinese porcelain patterns weaves historical references and significant moments behind his objects. The paintings embrace the richness of different cultures and create an intensity that is covered with interpretation and stories.
His work seeks to bring an additional sense of contemporary Western influences as he doesn’t believe that the pure traditional practice of Chinese ink paintings would accurately communicate his beliefs and background. Wei Lun lives in a state of both worlds as he learned from the Chinese ink tradition where poetry is heavily featured but Wei Lun is yet to learn the language. His western influence on his work brings that contemporary motif that allows the balance of both of his cultures and speaks true to his upbringing.
Wei Lun has enjoyed working with WWF and has for many years. “It’s always been a new challenge, because of the structure and the dynamics of the shape you never know how the paint will sit on the surface. Every shape that you work with presents its own challenges.” He is very excited to see people’s reactions and social media posts of the tails.
When asked with what he likes the most about his tail design, Wei Lun says “embracing the fact that if I do make a mistake, I can cover it with gold and bring attention to it. When I paint the gold it’s going to make an impact and giving it more geometry and strengthening the shape.”
“In life you don’t just break once you break many times” and in doing so we become more beautiful than before.
Wei Lun is a fan of Parnell and has worked with Parnell Business Association in the past strengthening his relationship with our suburb. He enjoys the community and the art presence that Parnell has to offer.
Sponsor: Summerset Retirement Villages
Summerset is thrilled to support Whale Tales and sees it as a wonderful way to raise awareness of marine conversation. Summerset is one of the leading retirement village providers in New Zealand, with 30 villages nationwide. Designed for over-70s, their villages offer resort-style facilities, a range of living options and care services on-site. Here in Parnell they’re planning a modern, high-quality village offering a range of apartments, and are currently going through the planning process.
WHALE TAIL DAMAGE
Each Whale Tail is a work of art, and deserves to be admired and appreciated as such. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that everyone will treat the Whale Tails with respect. If you come across a damaged Tail, please text the Tail name, location and a brief description of the damage to 022 042 9074.