Another 10 Chorus boxes are either completed or nearly there, bringing the total of beautified utility boxes across Hastings to 30.
For each of the last three years Hastings District Council and telecommunications company Chorus have got together to choose artists for the commissions. Submitting artists need to supply a concept that relates to the area the box is in.
One of the most popular art works this time around has been the “clean skins”, on a box near Watties in Frederick St.
Artist Mary Bagnall had passersby stumped as she worked on the project, but she had received rapturous feedback since it became clear that her work represented unlabelled Watties’ cans.
The cans are a bit of a Hastings ‘in joke’ that might have to be explained to visitors. The real things have traditionally been shared to Wattie's staff. Every long-time resident in Hastings has probably had some of these in their pantry at some time, given the sheer number of people who have had full time, after school or seasonal work at the plant over the decades.
The art work had certainly stirred up some memories, with one person commenting on Facebook that: “you ain't whanau if you don't got any of these cans in the cupboards”.
Some had made a game out of guessing the final result with their children: “This box is just down the road from us, the kids and I have been wondering what was getting painted since she started on this piece last year....we all thought it was a rainbow, lol, and have been patiently waiting for her to finish so we can see the end result, I'm very happy to know what this is and I think it looks great.”
Most stuck to superlatives, from “love this” and “beautifully painted’ to “brilliant” and “very clever”.
A post of the ‘canned’ box had reached nearly 11,500 Facebook feeds, attracted 315-plus likes and been shared and commented on by more than 60 people.
A new artist has joined the Chorus box painting team this time around, and already has two art works completed and a third in the planning.
Kim Grace was rapt to be advised mid-2016 that she had received three commissions, two in Flaxmere and one in Hastings.
All artists who put their hands up for the work had to submit designs that reflected the area the utility box was in. For her Tarbet St work, Kim said harakeke was the obvious theme. “It’s all about Flaxmere, Pa Harakeke; and reflects our Maori heritage; I wanted to reflect our community in the art.”
Harakeke also featured on her work on Kirkwood Rd, near the intersection with Omahu Rd. A stylised kete overflowing with grapes marries the heritage of Flaxmere with the surrounding wineries.
Her third design, on Willowpark Rd, would reflect the many young families in the area, and will give her three children the chance to give her a helping hand. “They’ve wanted to help with the first two and they’re really keen to have a go with the next one. It’s a tree, with children’s hand prints in rainbow colours, on a foundation made up of things children need in order to grow into happy, healthy adults.”
4 October 2017
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