Bright colours and the theme of new growth preside in artist Leah McCann’s mural on the side of the former Kings Theatre building. Seen from the library carpark, the mural is a work in progress.
The scene depicts a flower blooming from the top of a maunga that rises out of the earth and is flanked by three rivers.
Commissioned by the Gisborne Girls’ High School students behind the public artwork scheme Project Ataahua, Ms McCann was initially taken aback by the size of the wall she was offered.
“It was really big but I tried not to think about that. When the girls told me which wall it was, I came up with the concept.
“The most common question I get is, ‘how are you translating the artwork on to the wall?’ Columns in the wall and the scaffold work like a grid.”
Ms McCann and the Young Enterprise programme students in charge of Project Ataahua considered colours in the immediate environment so the colourful work would fit in.
“The Project Ataahua theme is ‘journey’,” says Ms McCann.
“I thought about it as growing from seed to blossom. The mountain represents all the people in Gisborne. It’s like the potential here. The flower has blossomed but the seeds are yet to grow.”
The various shapes and sizes of the flowers represent different cultures, says Ms McCann, who has named the work Flower Mountain.
It is the sixth mural commissioned by Project Ataahua.
Eastland Community Trust supported the entreprise with a $20,000 distribution from the trust’s community resilience major fund.
“We are grateful for ECT’s continued support with our project, and this wouldn’t be possible without them and the other local businesses who have provided their ongoing support throughout the last 18 months,” says Project Ataahua’s chief executive Nitha Vashti.
“We are planning to commission more murals this year, and have added merchandise derived from each mural on to our website.”