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Graffiti brightens block wall

There’s nothing for people to grumble about with the latest piece of graffiti about town — the new mural adorning a wall of the old changing sheds at Kopua Domain is a positive work of art.

The bland concrete block wall was transformed with brightly coloured paints and youthful creativity into a giant Raglan-themed mural in a three-day graffiti art workshop attended by a small group of Raglan Area School students.

Their brief was to come up with a concept of what was important to them about living in Whaingaroa, said teacher Gabrielle Williams who first approached Raglan Arts Council about the idea back in October.

“I wanted graffiti art done by the kids,” Gabrielle told the Chronicle of the project designed to get Year 7-10 youth involved in end-of-year activities both in and out of school. “There is a place for graffiti in the community.”

Gabrielle and her dozen or so protégés were inspired by graffiti at the nearby skatebowl, and a $200 grant from SuperValue’s monthly Community Cash fund “got the ball rolling”.

Then Waikato District Council came up with extra cash for paint, and graff artist Dallas Mihinui from Hamilton’s Art with Aroha was roped in as tutor. He regularly works with young people in the city on graffiti art projects to create positive images for the community.

The completed mural of Whaingaroa shows not only Mt Karioi in the background with sunset, waves and a playful Maui’s dolphin but also the area school’s Maori symbol for kaitiaki or caring which was designed by two of its artists and teachers.

The symbol represents one of the school values, said Gabrielle — of caring for each other and the environment.
“Hopefully we can do more (community art)”, she enthused this week.

Gabrielle is particularly grateful to both SuperValue and the local council for help with funding, and to the students for their participation.

Edith Symes

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