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Audio descriptive introduction to Mikala Dwyer: The silverings

The full audio description for Mikala Dwyer: The silverings will be available here once the work has been in place for some weeks.

This recording gives a brief background to the work, and the text on the exhibition label.


The silverings is a massive drifting sculpture installed at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from 21 May to 18 September 2022.

The work is site-specific, created for Te Papa’s unique Threshold gallery and designed for visitors to experience while they share the space with it.

The silverings is a dynamic and energetic artwork. Made from two huge silver foil sheets and hundreds of balloons filled with helium, it has its own elemental nature.  

We’ve found the work has been changing in response to Te Papa’s gallery space, revealing more variations in its form than we had imagined. Our audio descriptive introduction will capture where it is installed, how it came to life here at Te Papa, and some of those different forms over the first weeks of its installation.

The sculpture is installed in the two-storey Threshold gallery of Toi Art. Visitors can encounter it on levels four and five.

The exhibition label

An exhibition label is on the wall on the left just as we enter the Threshold gallery, near the lifts on level four. The work title is in large silver capital letters: The silverings. The title is followed by the year the artwork was made, 2022. The label reads

Mikala Dwyer born 1959, Australia

Mylar foil, foil balloons, helium, anchor weights

Commissioned 2022

Hundreds of zeros hover above you. Zero is a number that usually describes absence – but here, zeros are an energising presence.

Australian artist Mikala Dwyer sculpts what we cannot see. She uses silver balloons to trap helium, a gas created in the Big Bang. The silverings invites us to consider the everyday forces – seen and unseen – that shape us.

The silverings is part of Te Papa’s permanent collection.