Art in­va­sion

New mu­rals hit city

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - Mikaela Collins

Walls around Whanga¯rei will soon be em­bla­zoned with mu­rals painted by artists from all over the world who are com­ing to­gether for the city’s first in­ter­na­tional street art fes­ti­val.

Street Prints Manaia is the fourth in­ter­na­tional street art fes­ti­val or­gan­ised by Mount Maun­ganui-based char­ity Push­ing Arts in New Zealand Trust (PAINT) and the first held in Whanga¯rei.

Cre­ative direc­tor of the fes­ti­val Jah Smith, who is from the Far North, said lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional artists would be com­ing to­gether to cre­ate about 15 large scale mu­rals in the city for the fes­ti­val which runs from Jan­uary 24 to 28.

“Ba­si­cally th­ese mu­rals are go­ing to be dot­ted around Whanga¯rei city — close enough so peo­ple can walk the arts trail and check out the art­work while it’s be­ing painted,” he said.

Lo­cal artists in­volved in­clude Bryce Wil­liams, Earnest Bradley, Melinda Butt and Mike Tu­paea, while some of the in­ter­na­tional artists in­clude 2Alas from Mi­ami; Askew One from New York; Dourone from Bel­gium; Fin DAC from Ire­land; and Paola Delfin from Mex­ico.

Smith said the artists would also be men­tor­ing about 30 youth who had been iden­ti­fied through dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing po­lice, Nga¯ti­wai, and Whanga¯rei Youth Space.

“They don’t have to be into art — some of them are mu­si­cians, some of them we get from the street, so some tag­gers. It’s go­ing to be a va­ri­ety of youth.”

In ad­di­tion to the live mu­ral paint­ing there will also be work­shops and an art ex­hi­bi­tion which will give lo­cals the chance to pur­chase the work of the artists.

Smith said it was Dublin-based artist Fin DAC who en­cour­aged him and his wife Lovie to bring the fes­ti­val to Whanga¯rei.

The cou­ple took the Ir­ish artist to Whangaruru, where Lovie is from, in 2015 and he fell in love with it.

“At the end of 2017 we took him back up there and he said ‘why are we not do­ing any­thing up here, up north, I love this place, it’s so beau­ti­ful’, and he be­came our first spon­sor.”

They then met Whanga¯rei District Coun­cil and lo­cal kau­matua Te War­ihi He­taraka — Lovie’s un­cle.

“It’s go­ing to be a re­ally good ac­tion-packed week­end, it’ll be busy and a lot of peo­ple will be com­ing to it. But there’ll also be a lot of or­ganic peo­ple be­cause it’s hap­pen­ing in the city so peo­ple will see it — that’s the beauty of it.”

Smith said a map of where the mu­rals would be painted and a sched­ule of events re­leased closer to the fes­ti­val. For more in­for­ma­tion and a full list of artists visit street­prints.org.

Pho­tos / Michael Cun­ning­ham

Whanga¯ rei artist Mike Tu­paea and Auck­land artist Charles Wil­liams, who worked on this Pocket Park mu­ral, will be paint­ing mu­rals as part of Whanga¯ rei’s first in­ter­na­tional street art fes­ti­val.

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