OPOTIKI MURALS – AN EXAMPLE PROJECT
This transformational project has reduced graffiti in the district, at the same time giving the youth ownership of their work. Initially funded by Blue Light, the youth of Opotiki have brightened up this small town in the Eastern Bay of Plenty with now 30 large colourful murals. In their Arthouse they have come together joyfully in a spirit of eagerness to make a bigger picture happen.
A unique relationship has developed between the youth and the public of Opotiki since the arrival of the mural project. The beginning of this association was during the painting of the mudslide mural in the last term of 2007 when scores of public stepped forward to say “well done” to the youth. This project has created a shift in perception of youth and caused a growth and flowering of pride in young citizens. The youth have stayed on focus and completed walls on themes which support the benefits and pleasure of living here. The artists have researched their topics, gathered books, photos and met with community members and historians and visitors to the town. They have held lively design workshops and worked to recreate scenes which are familiar, historic and specifically local. The murals are an educational tool to build the future with. It is a surprise to the youth that they can have an impact and leave a mark on their local community and that they are capable of making a positive change.
Bus Tours are available via Visitor Information Centre.
This project has taught NZCAHF that Art is essential to the soul. Art is a human necessity, not a luxury. It is only a society that has forgotten its soul that could marginalize its arts and artists. The mural project in Opotiki is a sign of material and spiritual abundance. It means that the youth are alive and contributing.