Artist signs welcoming mural, completes beautiful addition to CBD

Published: 28 July 2021

Welcoming mural panel members (from left) building owner Brian Davidson, Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre director Shirin Khosraviani, Council's Welcoming Communities' advisor Janice McKay, artist Koryu Aoshima, Ashburton District Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan, Ashburton Youth Council member John Magyaya and Tiipene Philip, of Hakatere Marae.

Ashburton’s new welcoming mural has been described as a positive and happy addition to the urban landscape.

The mural was officially finished on Saturday (24 July) when artist Koryu Aoshima added his signature to the street art that stretches 27 metres along the southern side of the Armadillo’s building on the corner of Burnett and Cass Streets.

The final flourish was witnessed by Ashburton District Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan, mural panel members, and others who have been involved in its evolution.

Koryu said it was significant to him that the mural was launched at the same time as the opening of the Olympic games in his homeland Japan.

He said seeing the flags of the world come together was aligned with his inspiration to paint a rainbow flag on the mural, representing people around the world coming together in Ashburton.

Building owner Brian Davidson praised Koryu’s talent and said he had spent a lot of time watching him work; others had watched the mural progress with interest too and been inspired.

He said street art had come a long way in 30 years and was pleased to see the mural had been painted in collaboration with the Ashburton District Council and Government.

Tiipene Philip of the Hakatere Marae said the Maori name Hakatere had been used to describe Ashburton at least 800 years ago and he was pleased to see the artwork respect that connection.

The mural was described by those at the celebration ceremony as a beautiful addition to the CBD and street art that captured a sense of belonging and invited people to engage, with its film frame for selfies and photographs.

The Welcoming Communities project sought ideas for the mural from the community and then invited artists to submit designs. Over 600 people took part in a public vote and Koryu’s design was selected.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment supplied funding for the project and it was also supported by Resene, Armadillo’s, Gordon Harris, Steeltech, and Spraymarks.

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