Touchstone in place

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A touchstone from Southland artist Johnny Penisula was given to the city by the ILT to celebrate the trust's 75th birthday. The artist's son, Lyle Penisula (left), and ILT chairman Alan Dennis unveil the piece.

A TOUCHSTONE, which recognises the increasing diversity in the Southland community and the common needs which “tie us all together”, was given to Invercargill city.

The ILT commissioned a work from Invercargill artist Johnny Penisula to celebrate the trust’s 75 years of operation in the city.

A placing and blessing ceremony was held on Monday at ILT Stadium Southland almost a year later than expected.

Sina’s Seed No1 was inspired by the Samoan legend of the coconut, which tells of how a woman, Sina, asked the people to bury the head of the tuna/eel. Whatever then grew, people would rely on for their whole lives.

Penisula’s son, Lyle, was at the ceremony and said it was his father’s best piece.

His father was unable to attend the ceremony because of health issues, but said he was honoured to have the ILT commission.

“I know my dad. When he creates a piece, there is a cultural description around the piece is deeper than that.

“For me, this [the artwork] is a self-portrait of dad.”

ILT chairman Alan Dennis explained the ceremony had been delayed by about a year because of Covid-19.

Because it was a “touchstone”, the board thought it inappropriate to deliver the art piece last year.

It had placed the artwork at the stadium, where about 12,500 people went every week, he said.

When The Langlands hotel opened early next year, the trust would reassess if the piece would move to the new development.

“The beauty in being here is this is the most used facility in Invercargill,” Mr Dennis said.

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