FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Street art in Dunedin

Posted in Dunedin, New Zealand by folkestonejack on January 4, 2016

The mental images that I construct when thinking of New Zealand invariably focus on the incredible natural beauty of the country, the many wonderful historic buildings from the late 19th/early 20th century and the seemingly endless options for thrillseeking experiences. On the whole, I haven’t tended to think too much about the wider urban landscape in all of this. However, my impressions have been challenged by the street art revolution taking place in Dunedin.

DALeast's depiction of the extinct Haast eagle

DALeast’s depiction of the extinct Haast eagle

It is quite appropriate that Dunedin is leading the way as this is the city that saw New Zealand’s first public Art Gallery and first Art Society. Indeed, it is fair to say that the foresight of the early advocates has seen Dunedin become one of the most exciting centres of street art in the southern hemisphere.

ROA's tuatara in Bath Street

ROA’s tuatara in Bath Street

The creation of works by Belgian artist ROA and Brit Phlegm in the city started the ball rolling in Dunedin and gave everyone an opportunity to see just how remarkable these pieces can be. Building on this, the first Dunedin Street Art festival in October 2014 saw invitations extended to some of the world’s most talented street artists.

Detail from Phlegm's piece on the wall of Vogel Street Kitchen

Detail from Phlegm’s piece on the wall of Vogel Street Kitchen

Today, there are currently over 30 murals to find in the city and more walls in the city will be painted by NZ and international artists in the first quarter of 2016 (for updates see the Dunedin Street Art facebook page). Most of the artworks are located in and around the Warehouse Precinct. A free map of the artworks is available from the i-Site in the Octagon.

A section of Phlegm's Song Bird Pipe Organ

A section of Phlegm’s Song Bird Pipe Organ

I rather like the fact that many of the artists have chosen designs that reflect or incorporate local references. DALeast has depicted New Zealand’s extinct Haast eagle, Phlegm’s Song Bird Pipe Oegan shows one of his myserious characters playing an instrument that releases native NZ birds (including the kākāpō, takahē and kiwi) and ROA’s native tuatara.

Dunedin already has alot to attract visitors but this is one development that will keep the spotlight on the city. I am sure I will be back someday to see the latest artworks.


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