Mural chosen for landmark Christchurch site
The winning design for the inaugural Resene Art in the Street SCAPE Christchurch Murals project has been selected. The winning design, created by Rachael Dewhirst - a fourth year student of Fine Arts at Canterbury University – is a vibrant scheme which has been created for installation as a vast 33m x 5m mural on the wall of Christchurch’s Design & Arts College new site on the corner of Tuam and Colombo streets.
Rachael’s design was inspired by her post-earthquake observations of parts of buildings, including their interiors, which were not exposed previously. The shapes inspired forms in the mural design, and she will use playful and optimistic colours to add impact on the surrounding grey, empty landscape. She has taken into account the close proximity of vehicles from the adjacent car park to the murals and she hopes that “the shadows and silhouettes of vehicles will accompany the abstract forms in the space.”
“We believe that Rachael’s design will add a layer of vibrancy and positive energy to a location of poignant collective memory for Christchurch people” says Deborah McCormick, Director of the Art & Industry Trust and SCAPE Biennials. “The corner of Tuam and Colombo streets is where, on 22 Feb 2011, lives were lost when the facade of the building fell onto a passing bus. Rachael’s design pays tribute to the people; places and spaces lost, but at the same time focuses a new positive, creative energy at this important location.”
Karen Warman from Resene, who are sponsoring the project, says “Resene is well known for its striking bright and bold colours, and what better way for people to enjoy them than by taking them to the streets, with the Resene Art in the Streets, SCAPE Christchurch Murals project? We’re delighted to be working with SCAPE to add colour to Christchurch streets, provide large scale artworks that everyone can enjoy and to give artists the opportunity to display their work on large public spaces. We’re looking forward to seeing the streets come alive with art, colour and paint.”
Rachael is one of Canterbury University’s twenty art scholars in 2012. She is majoring in printmaking, and plans to continue into postgraduate studies for 2013. Her practice is concerned with the exploration of colour and form, using the processes of printmaking, collage and painting. She says “I am extremely excited and grateful to have this opportunity; especially to have an active part to play alongside SCAPE to bring life and vibrancy to our central city. As a Fine Arts student at Canterbury working towards an artistic career, it is a unique chance to showcase my work to the public.”
The Resene Art in the Streets SCAPE Christchurch Murals project was created as an extension of the SCAPE Public Art Development Workshops. The Workshops, run earlier this year, were developed specifically for Christchurch-based visual art students, emerging and mid-career artists and aimed to cultivate the necessary skills to develop public art projects for Christchurch. Artists who attended the workshops were encouraged to submit designs for consideration for the mural, and Rachael’s submission was chosen from amongst the designs received.
D&A College General Manager Val Gyde says the College is thrilled with Rachael Dewhirst’s winning mural design. “Her work will be an exciting visual enhancement to the environment around our Tuam Street campus. Visitors, and all those living and working in the city, will be inspired by this dynamic and vibrant artistic statement. “The mural’s ‘future-focused’ design symbolises the vitality and energy of Christchurch’s arts community, and reflects the optimism that is an integral part of the creative spirit.”
Val comments that public artworks are a feature of the world’s best cities: “This project is a wonderful example of the community working together for one purpose – to make the city a place worth visiting again by providing moments of inspiration and delight.”
Dewhirst’s mural will commence production in November 2012, and Christchurch people will have the opportunity to follow its progress on the SCAPE Facebook Page www.facebook.com/SCAPEPublicAr