Art & creativity  |  17 Sep 2020

Eleven striking street murals are in the spotlight as a new night gallery lights up across the central city.

The Ōtautahi Street Art Lighting Project – supported with funding from the Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Projects Fund – sheds a night light on many of the city’s most popular murals while also creating vibrant after-dark outdoor spaces.

Street art creative Watch This Space has joined forces with sustainable solutions provider Gen Green and installation specialist Living Space to light up often dimly lit vacant spaces while celebrating inner-city wall art.

A striking mural by Rone in central Christchurch.

Watch This Space Creative Director Reuben Woods describes the night gallery as an opportunity to “celebrate urban art” in a new solar-powered light.

“We want to encourage more people to explore our city at night by activating places of creative interest and bringing fresh vibrancy,” Dr Woods says.

“The people behind the solar lights, Gen Green, along with installers Living Space see the night trail as an opportunity to contribute to city regeneration and use technology for the good of Christchurch,” he says.

Dr Woods believes the one-hour art trail – covering sites from Armagh Street to Allen Street via Cathedral Square – will bring fresh vibrancy as more people engage with urban art at night.

“We can honour and highlight the works, bringing a fresh sense of life to the city as we engage with the familiar in a new light,” he says.

“It’s also an opportunity to provide another platform for artists’ work and celebrate the art being created in our city streets.”

One of the most striking works – Cracked Inks undulating black and white mural – can be found in Hereford Street, near the corner of Oxford Terrace.

Among the other night art trail highlights are a “landmark work” – titled Kristen – by Askew One in Gloucester Street by Cathedral Junction and a stunning visage by Australia’s Rone at the site of the former Press building.

A powerful portrait of a late Parihaka elder by Canadian artist Kevin Ledo – painted on a wall of the Crowne Plaza on the corner of Colombo Street and Armagh Street – will also be in focus.

Council Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage Head Carolyn Ingles says that the Council is strongly committed to supporting nightlife in Christchurch.

“We want to draw more people into the central city and help support a vibrant environment into the evening,” Ms Ingles says. “We are also aware that some residents do not feel safe in the CBD at night so initiatives such as the Ōtautahi Street Art Lighting Project are integral to illuminating often dark spaces.”