Artists Inspire City With Te Oranga

Aug. 1, 2019, 11:44 a.m.

After the huge success of the art project Street Prints Manaia, a range of new pieces have been added to the Whangārei cityscape in a follow on campaign called Te Oranga.

Mayor for Whangārei Sheryl Mai said the community were so impressed with Manaia street arts that offers of funding began to come in to support artwork to beautify the city.

“Today is a continuation of Manaia street prints, after that I had a member of the community come to me and say I want to see more and I want to see young people involved and here’s some money!” Mai said.

The project has been a collaboration between Memory Lane Tattoo studio, the Whangārei District Council and Creative Northland involved teams of emerging youth working alongside established artists.

“We came to the experts and asked how do we make this happen? So today is the culmination of lots of hard work behind the scenes to get to this point and it’s so exciting,” she said.

“As a community we are growing, we’re appreciating art and acknowledging that our whole city needs to be brightened up!”

Organiser and Artist Earnest Bradley said the theme of Te Oranga encapsulates everything around wellness and was the perfect fit for the kaupapa of the project.

“Mikey came up with Te Oranga and it was like everything clicked.  It was fitting, giving back, being in your oranga, basically feeling 100 and giving  your maximum so it just made sense,” he said.

Each artist was teamed up with an emerging youth and Huanui College student Ayo said this experience will help him grow as he establishes his own personal style..

“Im teaming up with Bryce and I think I’ll get a lot out of it as far as my ability goes.  I know he’s experienced so it’s a good opportunity.

“I’m still trying to find my style, I just like getting across my thoughts and my feelings in my pieces, this will teach me a better view on art and to put more thought into my pieces,” he said.

Earnest Bradley said bringing youth onto Te Oranga is something new which aligns with their mission of being able to give back.

“Now we’ve got some youth so they get to see the whole process from start to finish and how hard it is to pull these mural off.

“I’ve had 20 years experience in street art and somewhere along the line I need to give back and these guys are more than willing and keen so Im more than happy to share my knowledge”

“I paint a lot of portraiture so mine is like stepping into your oranga, I’ve used a local boy from Whangārei and Ive just a lot of light source through my pieces.  I try to keep my pieces quite fluid, organic and abstract. It’s basically (him) stepping into his oranga,” Bradley said. 

Artist Michael Tupaea from Panguru brought his skills back to the North six years ago as a way to serve his local community and believes events like this are an opportunity to make a statement in art.

“If you have a personal story that goes with your mahi it has a lifeforce and it has a statement.  We do these ancient carving that hold special meanings and put them in our house and we can identify what they mean and to be able to paint the city with that sort of mana, is something I’m excited about.

“My particular piece is called Breakthrough, so Oranga is a journey of wellness and for me there’s different pillars for that hinengaro, wairua, tinana, whānau, whenua: there’s all these different parts to wellness.

“When you’re in a place of oranga you can contribute and my place is about now being in a place of wellness and being able to contribute, which is a journey I’ve been on for the last 20 years and finding what that looks like.  So it’s about breaking through personally so you can help other people to contribute.” Tupaea said.

The new works are located on Walton Street, Hannah Street and Commerce Street.

Tags: Contemporary Art

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