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Leading NZ artist Lisa Wisse has paid tribute to the 29 Pike River coal miners with a painting to be gifted to the West Coast community.
Wisse of Christchurch has had the painting handed over to Grey district mayor Tony Kokshoorn as a homage to the miners and those affected by the Pike river mining disaster.
Wisse said she wanted the painting to be hung publicly as a visual memorial to the tragedy so visitors to Greymouth could pay their respects.
``I have used the symbolic form of a strong, weathered mature tree, silhouetted against the early dawn light to represent your strong fathers, sons and husbands who left early to work deep in the earth on November 19,’’ she said in a note to the miner’s families attached to the painting.
``I have recorded 29 words mentioned by the Pike River chief executive and the mayor to remember, giving strength and solace to not only the families but to the entire nation.’’
The 29 words are: miners, confusion, terror, pain, bravery, families, sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, anger, frustration, fighters, strength, tears, heartbreak, grief, vigil, sorrow, prayers, stoic, friends, tragedy, solidarity, heartwarming, future, love, resilience, memories.
Wisse is renowned for her modern depiction of New Zealand landscape including pohutukawa and emotive landscapes. The painting featured tranquil water which seemed symbolic of the closer ties between New Zealand and the US.
Wisse has been one of New Zealand’s most prolific artists of the last 10 years. She has exhibited her work throughout New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK and also has her paintings among private collections in New York, Australia and the UK.
She will open an exhibition of her works this week at a major Christchurch venue.