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Growing Creative Habitats

Oriental Bay Seascape Mural Teaming with Life, Fishes, and New Critters Wellington's colourful and dynamic Oriental Bay Seascape mural just got a new population of fish and underwater creatures,…

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Oriental Bay Seascape Mural Teaming with Life, Fishes, and New Critters

Wellington's colourful and dynamic Oriental Bay Seascape mural just got a new population of fish and underwater creatures, thanks to a group of local artists and an on-going creative partnership.

Wellington City Council and the Department of Conservation began a unique partnership last year, which combined a dilapidated retaining wall, a handful of artists, and a group of scientists and marine life specialists. Oriental Bay Seascape Mural Teaming with Life, Fishes, and New Critters

Wellington's colourful and dynamic Oriental Bay Seascape mural just got a new population of fish and underwater creatures, thanks to a group of local artists and an on-going creative partnership.

Wellington City Council and the Department of Conservation began a unique partnership last year, which combined a dilapidated retaining wall, a handful of artists, and a group of scientists and marine life specialists.The result is the unique work of public art known as the Oriental Bay Seascape Mural.

Originally painted by artist Ellen Coup in May 2004, the mural offers a closer look at Wellington's underwater habitats, from rock pools to marine mammals to birdlife to the variety of local fishes. Several dozen illustrations of local marine life, painted onto sign-grade plywood by Wellington artists, were originally bolted in place as a second layer on top of Coup's striking habitat.

"Just about everyone who passes the mural, from joggers and cyclists to kids and foreign visitors, wants to stop and engage with the extraordinary world it depicts," said Wellington City Council Arts Manager, Eric Holowacz. "It's a credit to the artists, the scientists, and DOC, that they all seem to want to learn more about fishes, seaweeds, and orcas."

On Tuesday 2 August, to celebrate DOC's Conservation Week programmes, over dozen new illustrations were added to the 90m seascape mural, making it an even more dynamic depiction of local aquatic flora and fauna.

The new additions, created by Jo Thapa, Julian Knapp, Aaron Frater, and Hamish Pilbrow, include a stingray, banded rasse, porcupine fish, oyster catcher, several kina, and the familiar blue cod. The illustrations were completed after consultation and advice from marine specialists at DOC, Te Papa, and NIWA.

"This project shows how art can be used to promote conservation objectives, educate the community, and advocate for local environmental concerns," said DOC Community Relations Ranger Jo Greenman. "It also provides countless opportunities to develop school programmes, education activities, informative literature and creative outreach activities."

For more information about the Oriental Bay Seascape Mural, please contact Eric Holowacz on 385-1929 or arts@wcc.govt.nz

Written by

Eric Vaughn Holowacz

12 Aug 2005

Eric Vaughn Holowacz was born in Princeton, New Jersey and grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended Irmo High School, and was a member of its National Championship academic Quiz Bowl Team in 1986.