Bledisloe Bebop (2020)

Bledisloe House in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s Aotea Square is a modernist building with a difference. Its rooftop sports a mural unlike anything else in the country: an abstract mosaic frieze. The first major public artwork created by artist Guy Ngan, the mural was commissioned by the New Zealand Government in 1956.

Bledisloe Bebop brings this rooftop icon to ground level. In 2019 the work was documented by Auckland Council commissioned drones under the instruction of Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. In this video work, Holloway-Smith pairs these images with a New Zealand jazz soundtrack from the era in a lively dance that highlights the extraordinary detail and playfulness of Ngan’s frieze.

Bledisloe Bebop is the first major outcome of a project to research and document the twentieth century public artworks of Guy Ngan. This emerged out of a partnership with Auckland’s Artspace Aotearoa, alongside their 2019 exhibition Guy Ngan: Either Possible or Necessary (Curators: Remco De Blaiij and Lachlan Taylor).

This work has been created in association with Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand: a research initiative based at Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts Massey University Wellington that is seeking to recover Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Art Heritage one work at a time.



Directed and produced by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith.

Drone images of Guy Ngan’s Bledisloe House penthouse frieze (1956) captured by Aerialsmiths, commissioned by Auckland Council, 2019.

Music: ‘Mohawk’ (c.1950) by Charlie Parker. Performed by the New Zealand Jazz Quartet with Stu Buchanan in Christchurch in 1964. Recorded by Radio NZ. Supplied by AudioCulture. Out of Copyright.

Public Presentations

Auckland Art Week: Artweek on Screen
Auckland Live Digital Stage, Aotea Square
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
10-13 October 2020

Guy Ngan: Public Art Hero
Artspace Aotearoa
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
14 October 2020

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