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image Audrey Baldwin – The Art Chemist
image Image courtesy: CCC

Audrey Baldwin (The Art Chemist) prescribes remedies for everyday ills..

“Given the uncertain times, and a general feeling of not know what’s to come, what would you prescribe as a calming piece of work for us here in Ōtautahi?” – Sarah

It’s important to take time to breathe and be still in the storm of these trying and uncertain times. I for one, feel like everything is hurtling around me at a hundred k’s an hour and I’m struggling to keep up with it. Sometimes we just need to be still and re-center for a moment. My prescription to encourage this is: a walk through Victoria Square to engage with two key works there.

Poupou – Riki Manuel (1994)

It is a calm and fixed reference point in an ever-changing scene – the river runs by, trees drop their leaves and the flower gardens get new clothes as the seasons change. This is a busy site with a long history – once a central meeting place for Ngāi Tūāhuriri and an important mahinga kai site, it has also been a space for Chinese Lantern Festivals, cultural displays and music performances. Since 1994, this pou has been deep rooted and strong – holding space and connecting past and present. Draw your eyes up its length, stretch out your spine and drop your shoulders. Notice the detail on it and be still with it for 5 deep breaths.

Parerau (2018), Illustrations by Jennifer Rendall

As you slowly disengage from the pou and start moving again, look around the wider park. Have you appreciated the seed pods, plants and leaves sandblasted into the low basalt walls? A mix of native and indigenous flora, they weave around the park like a garland. Follow it with your eyes and then meander around the curve of one of them. Think about what the essential ingredients are for happiness in your life – what’s in your kete already? What do you need? What can you offload or trade?

Jennifer happens to be the mum of Lyttleton crooner Marlon Williams, so if you’d like a song to accompany your walk, perhaps check out his recent album Plastic Bouquet or this beautiful waiata:


If you have an ailment that you would like a prescription for, send us an email at kiaora@toiotautahi.org.nz



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