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Waka-inspired forms for new mural

In the News - 5th October 2017 The Gisborne Herald
Project Ataahua Caption: VOYAGERS: A voyaging-themed mural (shown in second picture) will be unveiled in the Bright Street carpark opposite the War Memorial Theatre on Sunday, October 8

FIVE waka-inspired forms with sun-dappled whales in a blue and black ocean feature in the Bright Street carpark’s new mural.

Designed and created by artists Nick Tupara and Phil Berry, the design also features five blade-like pou, not unlike the forms Tupara installed last year along Eastland Port’s upper log yard. A rolling wave-like kowhaiwhai design patterns one side of each waka form.

This is the first mural initiated under a Gisborne Girls’ High School Young Enterprise team’s public artwork scheme, Project Ataahua, and will be unveiled on Sunday, October 8. The team has taken voyaging as their theme for artworks.

The date coincides with the 248th anniversary of first formal contact between Maori and European with the arrival of explorer Lieutenant James Cook.

The Te Ha trust suggested the theme of a journey for the mural.

“We loved Nick Tupara and Phil Berry’s work and approached them with the theme of journey,” Rebecca said.

“It resonated with the message they conveyed through previous artworks.”

250 years of voyaging to these shores

Each of the five waka-inspired forms represents 250 years of voyaging to these shores. This includes ocean-going journeys by Maui, Paikea, Rongowhakaata, James Cook and people who travel to Turanganui-a-Kiwa-Poverty Bay every day, Rebecca said.

The migration of whales also ties in with the theme of journeys. Once the whales’ breeding season in warmer waters is over they journey past the East Cape to Antarctic oceans to feed during summer months.

In the original concept, as seen in the picture, the mural shifts in colour from charcoal and greys on the right to sky blue on the left where sail forms appear to become Cubist-like mountain forms.

“We were presented with two options,” Rebecca said.

One option was all charcoal the other all blue.

“We loved them both and couldn’t decide so we put it to the building’s owner, Gisborne Fisheries, and they decided on both colours.”

The design has been simplified a little. The sail forms do not appear in the work-in-progress and the proposed vertical, 3D waka-inspired forms are now painted horizontally on the wall.

The mural will be unveiled on Sunday at 4pm.

“We have the first mural underway and are looking to have a few more up and running by the end of the year,” Rebecca said.

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