Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is returning to Napier this week, following on from the huge success of this festival last year. It’s great to see this festival back again and this year MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum is getting onboard. The artworks created during Sea Walls share messages about critical ocean issues while also adding life and colour to our city and surrounds. Last year 29 artworks were created and this year a further 20 will be added. They certainly provide vibrancy and a focus to enjoy, ponder and discover as you walk around the city.
The museum has a perfect canvas for such a mural (a long blank wall), at the far end of our building on Browning Street. Russian artist, Rustam Qbic, was selected to create a mural in this space. Rustam is known for creating a “playful sense of the absurd” and there certainly is a delightful whimsical quality to the concept drawing provided. Cinzah Merkens, the local coordinator of Sea Walls said Rustam’s work is “about harmony and unity of humans interacting within their environment and the oceans marine life. Children working symbiotically with sea creatures such as the whale featured to take on a common cause, cleaning the world around them to build a brighter and better new world and future for the generations to come.”
We also checked in with our neighbours who will face the work and are delighted that when we showed them the concept drawing they loved it. We’re very pleased to be able to provide a better view than the plain blank wall they currently face and they will have the perfect vantage point to watch as this work evolves. Obviously we don’t want to give too much away but from Cinzah’s description above you will know that the artwork involves children and a whale. Rustam starts work on Monday so do come watch this artwork come to life and take the opportunity to talk with Rustam about the work.
Like the fabulous Tiffany Singh ‘Colours of Light’ art installation that was at the front of the museum for a month, we want to keep providing different and fresh concepts over time. For that reason this will not be a permanent artwork and will have a fixed timespan – in this case twelve months. While we have not decided what will follow this work, and it may not be anything immediately, there will be new ideas and expressions of art to share in the future.
I’m still occasionally surprised by finding Sea Walls murals I haven’t seen before and am delighted to know that there are more on the way. While we will all have favourites and, maybe not-so-favourites, it is fantastic to see this expression of art and caring about our oceans blossoming throughout the city.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 18 March 2017