Mural showing Dunedin’s colourful history

Wall Mural by Dan Mills, of Mangawhai, and Phillipa Crofskey, of Dunedin

Wall Mural by Dan Mills, of Mangawhai, and Phillipa Crofskey, of Dunedin.
(Photo source from here)

This piece is something I found while surfing the net. While it may not be entirely considered as ‘political art’… I think it is very timely. It got me thinking anyway! Which is what all good visual art should do.

We are a multi-cultural nation. This mural is touching on the diversity we have in New Zealand as a country.

In October 2012, Hoyts Lane off the Octagon was transformed with a new mural paint job.

Dunedin’s colourful history was woven into a tapestry which was unveiled during the Otago Festival of the Arts.

Artist Dan Mills, of Mangawhai, said the mural was a blend of Maori, Scottish, Chinese and Lebanese culture.

“I wanted it to represent Dunedin’s history and the fabric of its society,” he said.

“So, it entwines Scottish tartan, Chinese fabric, Lebanese embroidery and woven flax. There are a lot of metaphors in the work. The gold in the fish scales represents the gold taken from the ground of Otago, while the taniwha is also a Chinese dragon.”

“Everything flows towards the Octagon, through a flax fishing net.”

Parts of above article are from Otago Daily Times online. Read full story here.

Lester Hall- Tiki Mouse

The Little River Gallery artist profile says this about New Zealand print maker:

“From the popular Kiwiana beauty of “Wahine” to the dour victorian morbidity of “Boogieman” Ngati Pakeha Inks have been “a wonderful journey into what it might mean to be Pakeha” says Lester Hall. Describing himself a long time outsider artist who also positions himself as a social commentator on the evolving identity of Aotearoa.  Lester uses his Ngati Pakeha prints to invite all New Zealanders to come with him into this discussion.”

Lester Hall, Northland based artist tests cultural climate with his latest work Tiki Mouse by blatantly merging Mickey Mouse with one of New Zealand’s most touted cultural icon – Heitiki. Hall’s 2004 Ngati Pakeha series of 23 Tiki, launched a cross pollination Buzzy Bee and Tiki to create Halls kiwiana classic Buzzy Bee Tiki.

Print maker Lester Hall is one of New Zealand’s most exciting contemporary visual artists. Hall’s work is visually striking, intelligent, and strongly political. Maori commentator, Willie Jackson states, “he is a cultural intellectual for NZ”. Hall has a clear message that radiates strongly from his Ngati Pakeha Inks series. (read more and see picture of the image here)

You can read another interesting story about one of his pieces here- Toi moko art print upsets

Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond is one of my personal favourite New Zealand artists.

And continuing to a simliar thread as the last post, some of Hammonds work also comments on human interaction with the birds & environment of this land.

One of the common themes in his paintings are the half animal/human creatures with avian heads and human limbs. They have quite an Egyptian look to them.

One website biography on Hammond said this:

‘Hammond’s work tackles social and environmental issues, conveying messages about humanity and its status as an endangered species.’ (source: Biography)

Endangerment: he looked back into New Zealand’s environmental history for his subject matter, drawing inspiration from the studies of Sir Walter Buller. The Buller paintings show us some of the ways in which birds have been forced to relate to us.

Birdlife: These works came about after Hammond returned from a trip to the remote Auckland Islands, where there are no people and birds still rule. (source: wikipedia)

(Photo: drift.net.nz )