elliot collins

My Heart is an Anchor

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This temporary wall painting, a part of Tidelines, aims to awaken an old, grey and unloved part of the Wynyard Quarter before its planned rejuvenation as part of the ongoing developments in the precinct.

The text - MY HEART IS AN ANCHOR, THEN LEAVE IT BEHIND - references a piece of dialogue from Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, a play by American author Tony Kushner. These words fold into the painting themes of communication across the water, of travel and of lovers. The fractured but coupled phrasing allows a gap into which individual interpretation and imagination can step.

On a background of diagonal marks the painted words will appear to float and travel over the surface of the wall. The background colours will come from a sampling of the surrounding area. These colours will be both surprising and harmonious because they are just a reflection of what is around.

The anchor at the centre of the work pays homage to the history of the Auckland waterfront as a port destination. Back before Wynyard Quarter was reclaimed from the sea a fleet of ships could often be seen moored offshore acting like beacons that signalled a connection with faraway places. They would have moved people, goods, ideas and love letters from the rest of the country and around the world to Auckland.

Above the wall, in what could possibly be the tallest flagpole in Auckland, I will raise a flag displaying the hopeful and longing words SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY. This further extension and triangulation of phrases rewards those searching for more and those who curiously glance up. With its addition a fuller narrative can begin to be strung together:

'I can't go on for my heart is an anchor.'

'If you can't take it with you then leave it behind.'

'But where will we go?'

'Somewhere far away.'

With this work I want to reintroduce the romance of the waterfront to the people of Auckland. From old archival images early settler life appears hard but adventurous, dirty but exciting and the technology of the time as amazing to witness as the technological changes we are currently experiencing.

As we enter a new phase of change down at the water's edge, it is important to look back if only for a moment, just to see how far we have come.

This work will be presented on Beaumont Street from Saturday the 25th October 2014


  • Just a little detail


    My heart to yours.

    Just a little detail
  • Finished Wall


    Well, there it is and I can't thank everyone enough for your support. Not only the generous people who sent some funds my way but all the support of Boosted and Waterfront Auckland as well as the Arts Foundation. It was a pretty special feeling to have all those people in my court cheering me on.

    And I have to thank the anonymous wandering passers-by who clapped and shouted encouragements along the way while I was up the ladder. After this I’ve decided that I quite like the people in our little city.


    Again, thank you all. Plenty more to come.



    Finished Wall
  • The flag is flying


    Somewhere Far Away

    The flag is flying