Mu­rals by lo­cal artists give mall a new lease on life

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The front of Wai­tan­girua Mall is get­ting a facelift thanks to lo­cal artists, as part of a de­sire from mall own­ers and the city coun­cil to make the build­ing more at­trac­tive.

The mall has been de­rided over the years for the amount of graf­fiti that cov­ers it, but the open­ing of the new chil­dren’s play­grounds and mu­rals on the side fac­ing Na­tone Park School have given Porirua City Coun­cil’s graf­fiti re­duc­tion co- or­di­na­tor Richard Withe­ford-Smith plenty of hope.

While the cost of the 10 mu­rals go­ing up this week have come from his bud­get, the mall’s own­ers have been very sup­port­ive, he says.

‘‘ The own­ers are com­pletely ren­o­vat­ing the old com­mu­nity hall, so it can be used again and there will be sev­eral new busi­nesses open­ing soon. The art­work is a cel­e­bra­tion of Wai­tan­girua, giv­ing some real colour to the build­ing. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for the artists to come to­gether and give it a new lease on life.’’

Mr Withe­ford-Smith used his own con­tacts and those of project co- or­di­na­tors Ruth Robert­sonTay­lor and Ranga Tuhi to em­ploy a range of artists. From Ian Tay­lor’s Van Gogh-in­spired mu­ral on Wai­tan­girua’s two rivers to well­known spray­paint artist Antz June’s colour­ful take on cul­ture and youth, there is plenty of styles used.

Nestor Opetaia says be­ing in­volved was a ‘‘ huge op­por­tu­nity’’. His mu­ral in­cor­po­rates Pa­cific colours and the im­por­tance of food in their lives. Olivia Giles, mean­while, wanted to high­light the strength of Ngati Toa women on her sec­tion of the mall’s wall.

Ms Robert­son-Tay­lor hoped the project would have the same ef­fect as the art dis­played in Porirua’s rail­way sta­tion – con­tribut­ing to a pos­i­tive, safer at­mos­phere.

Mall art: Antz June gets into his work on his part of the Wai­tan­girua Mall wall, with his de­sire to ‘keep it bright’ coming through.

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