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.

ARTISTS as ACTIVISTS: Fighting for our environment

Sam Mahon - “Escape”

Sam Mahon – “Escape”

This was an exhibition (late 2010) that I stumbled across while surfing the net, and thought was really interesting. It also fits in perfectly with the topic of this blog.

The exhibition consisted of paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture by some of New Zealand’s leading artists, all of whom use their art to express their passion for our environment and sometimes to protest against its desecration.

It included works by Michael Smither, Don Binney, Nick Dryden, Grahame Sydney, Sam Mahon, Ian Hamlin, Dean Buchanan, Jane Zusters and members of the Academy. With poems by Brian Turner.

“As far as I know, this is the first time the work of so many of New Zealand’s leading artists has been brought together around the theme of environmental activism, protest and political ideas.” -curator Ian Hamlin

The idea of artist as protester is nothing new and the artist’s readiness to communicate the unspoken, to think beyond his or her own experience, to attempt to push the audience out of its comfort zone, and speak for those who do not dare, has created some of the most powerful artworks in the world. Here in New Zealand, artists are seldom far away from controversial issues and in recent times, the environment has been a particular driver for protest.

(read more here)

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 )