28 July 2021
A vibrant new road mural is brightening up mid-winter days in Christchurch’s red zone, with the artist hoping it will help encourage people to explore the space.
'Crossings', by local artist Dr Suits, pictured, is an abstract artwork painted on Burwood’s Corserland Street – a road that leads through a range of public activities facilitated by landowners Toitū Te Whenua LINZ and leaseholders Life in Vacant Spaces.
The mural features geometric shapes that play on the way that roads remain in the red zone despite the absence of the houses they once served. A collaboration between Dr Suits and arts facilitators Watch this Space, it’s one of a series of creative additions to a nine-hectare area known as East x East.
“It heightens the impact of the road markings to a more purely aesthetic level, while also encouraging the viewer to enter the work and play across its shapes and lines,” says Watch this Space’s Dr Reuben Woods.
“It also plays on the natural environment by aligning with the shadows cast by nearby power poles.”
The road mural is complemented by another 80s-inspired artwork by local artists Porta and Bols – the latest addition to their 'Power Up!' interactive installation. Painted onto a shipping container, the new artwork uses a pixelated style reminiscent of a video game screen, inviting people to play the nearby 'Power Up!' treasure hunt game.
“'Power Up!' includes retro arcade game 'rewards' – such as coins, potions, treasure chests and swords – that are distributed around the area for people to seek out and power up. The rules are introduced by a seat painted like an arcade console in the middle of the red zone,” says Dr Woods.
“The game not only adds to the idea of playing in the red zone, but also draws on the history of the area as a site for family homes where children grew up playing."
All the artworks and games ultimately aim to encourage people to explore and reimagine the area.
“The red zone is loaded with associative meanings and memories but at the same time needs to speak of the future and what we can do with these spaces. Adding creative interventions is a good way to encourage people to think about their surroundings and how to engage with it.”
A grant from Christchurch City Council’s Red Zone Transitional Land Use fund was approved by Te Tira Kāhikuhiku to help fund the creation of the new murals.
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