Neil Dawson has produced many public sculptures throughout New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the UK. He represented New Zealand at the Sydney Biennale in 1988, and at Magiciens de la Terre, Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris in 1989. Dawson created the Main Entry Artworks at the Stadium of Australia for the 2000 Olympic Games, and installed Fanfare on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for New Year 2004/05.
Fanfare has since been gifted to Christchurch and was installed in 2015 on the northern motorway. This visionary six-storey-high sphere (20 metres in diameter and weighing 25 tonnes) is covered in 1.5 metre steel pinwheel fans and can be illuminated in a spectrum of colours at night. It is a welcome addition to the local landscape post-quake.
Locally, his major public works include Chalice in Cathedral Square, Spires in Latimer Square, Christchurch, and Ferns in Civic Square, Wellington.
Dawson studied at the Ilam School of Art, Canterbury University, and at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. He received a Laureate Award from the New Zealand Arts Foundation in 2003, and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2004.
Vortex Dawson’s site specific work for Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden’s permanent collection was completed and installed in February 2016. It features waves of welcome swallows in a vortex which emphasises the angular and linear momentum, energy and mass of these delightful birds.