Culture Canvas

Street art has become a popular art form the world over. Across the globe, urban centres are becoming giant, colourful canvases for all kinds of artistic expression.   As part of this year’s Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival ‘Culture Canvas’ is brightening three walls in the centre of Hastings.  This project is being co-directed by Hawke’s Bay based artist and event producer Cinzah Merkens, known locally and internationally for his large-scale murals and producing Napier’s Sea Walls Artists for Oceans mural festivals.  In 2018 Cinzah created a mural in Hastings in the car park on corner of Eastbourne and Karamu it’s titled “Te hāro o te Kāhu ki tuawhakarere” meaning ‘view the future with the insight of a hawk’. 

The ‘Culture Canvas’ murals are a pilot project that are the seeds for a large-scale mural project that will celebrate the cultural diversity in Hastings focusing on Hastings people and their stories.

As part of the Festival three prominent murals are being created in Hastings CBD, featuring 3 internationally recognised and celebrated muralists.

George Rose is currently painting a mural on the side of the Tremains building at 304 Market Street North from the 12th - 17th of October. George is a Melbourne-based artist predominantly known for her vibrant large-scale murals. She has the ability to create masterpieces across various art forms including digital design, multi-media and sculpture.  Her work expresses a great sense of movement and colour, a marrying of gestural mark making, pattern, illustration and typography.

Poihakena Ngawati also known as TECHS is of Ngati Hine and Ngapuhi decent, based in Auckland. Poi has circumnavigated the globe as a voyager sailing a traditional waka hourua, he’s painted murals across New Zealand and the pacific, recently producing a piece for Sea Walls in Maui, Hawaii.  Poi paints murals which honour and reflect his background as well as the people in which the murals are located, celebrating New Zealand Māori and Pacific Island culture.   Poi will create a mural on the wall at the back of the alleyway at 106 Eastbourne Street East.

The third mural will bring life to the facade of Hastings City Library, facing Eastbourne Street.   This wall will feature the work of Erika Pearce a multi-disciplined artist and designer born and raised in Auckland. Her passion for women, culture and nature inspires her vibrant artwork.

Growing up in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, Erika developed a deep respect for the cultures around her from a young age. She creates every piece with a lot of research, understanding and guidance. Her 2018 exhibition, I Am Wahine explored feminine beauty and strength in modern women. She firmly believes that every woman deserves to not only feel beautiful, but to also own their beauty. To be proud of who they are and where they come from. She works with real women to visually tell their stories.

Her artwork can be found across New Zealand as well as in United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Fiji, Indonesia and in the private homes of collectors around the world.

Poi and Erika’s work will be created their painting from 21st - 28th October.

Cinzah said, “Working with murals breaths life and art into places that we might not normally notice or just walk past.  While the work is being created, the artists enjoy interacting with the community and we encourage people to stop by and chat, ask questions and be curious about public art and the impact it has on an urban environment.  I’m very happy to be collaborating with Harcourts Hawkes Bay Arts Festival to deliver a series of powerful thought provoking artworks, murals that create a sense of identity and celebrate our regions thriving diversity.”

Stay tuned for more announcements and details on https://www.hbaf.co.nz/ and @aai_nz on Instagram

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