by Greta Yeoman
Mount Cook lilies, South Canterbury wildlife and plankton now adorn Timaru buildings, the result of a recently completed street art project.
The final mural, painted by Auckland artist Flox on a wall opposite Speight’s Ale House, was finished last week.
Her artist statement said her environmentally themed artwork referenced the area, including paying homage to Timaru’s original name, “Te Maru” (the Shelter), the cabbage tree and the region’s wildlife, including extinct species.
The environment is also the theme of another of the murals, created by Dunedin environmental activist and artist “Toothfish”, who painted plant and plankton on a wall of the Willmott’s Workwear building in Sophia St.
The artist said in his artist statement that plankton were the “bedrock” of the ocean foodchain, as well as the driving force of the carbon cycle.
“Humans burn coal and oil derived from the remains of prehistoric plankton and a good percentage of the carbon released in this process is sucked up by plant plankton in the ocean, who produce oxygen for us to breathe.”
Dunedin artist Aroha Novak’s mural – on the side of Community House in Strathallan St – also has a nature theme in the form of Mt Cook lilies painted to resemble wallpaper.
Novak said it was a nostalgic reference to the Mt Cook Airlines logo, which featured the Mt Cook lily.
The street art project was undertaken by the Timaru Civic Trust and Alive Vibrant Timaru.