Invitation to The Drop Off by Kiran McKinnon

Please join us on Monday 5 August in Auckland's CBD at the historic South British Insurance Company Building for the opening of The Drop Off, a large-scale, site-specific immersive painting by artist Kiran McKinnon.

This eight-metre long painting responds to the site of the building on Shortland Street, the former foreshore of Auckland. Kiran has created this massive work on canvas with paint and 60 liters of seawater from Auckland Harbour in the largest work of her career. It is inspired by "the drop off", the place where shallow water meets deep ocean at the edge of a reef. It is a step into the unknown.

The intention is to create an immersive art experience, to be suspended in time, absolutely present in the infinite now! The work was painted to sounds of Radio New Zealand Concert.

We thank the South British Insurance Company building for their valuable contribution to the vibrancy of the art scene in Auckland. This is the ninth site-specific artwork we have commissioned for this unique space that has become an art destination in the city.


The Drop Off is an 8-metre long painting on a single canvas that introduces an experience of calm escape into this dynamic, heritage lobby in Auckland’s CBD. 

The title of this specially-created painting plays with the notion of ‘dropping off’ in various ways, such as people dropping in and out of the lobby. 

The ‘drop-off’ is also the place where shallow water meets deep ocean at the edge of a reef; a step into the unknown.  Kiran’s work engages with experience and memory. The Drop Off provides the viewer with a sense of immersion, or suspension – as if underwater, suspended in contemplation, lost in a moment of time.  

Water as both medium and subject are important aspects of Kiran’s work. This piece was painted using 60 litres of sea water collected from the Auckland foreshore. The use of water from this source acknowledges the building’s history as it stands where the sea once met the land.

"Weather and water are often at the centre of the places and experiences in the world that capture my attention, and so find their way into my work. Rivers, lakes, the sea, rain, clouds, mist, all find reference in my practice.  The methods I use to paint include misting, spraying and washing of water and paint across the canvas.” 

The music of RNZ Concert comes to this space from the artist’s studio. Kiran is inspired by the interplay between the language and ideas of composition in classical music and her painting practice. 

Kiran is an abstract painter who lives and works in Auckland. She studied in London and Auckland, gaining an MFA (Hons, 1st Class) from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2001.


Auckland CBD, Monday 5 August 2019
5.30 – 7pm

All welcome.  Includes hospitality and a brief artist's introduction at 6pm.

The Lobby – South British Insurance Company Limited Building
3–13 Shortland St
Cnr Shortland St and High St
Auckland Central

RSVP if you can join us (for hospitality purposes)