Sea creatures start appearing on walls around Napier

Freeman White and John Berryman working on White's Sea Walls mural.
Megan Hunt

Freeman White and John Berryman working on White's Sea Walls mural.

The sea is flooding Napier's streets, flowing along footpaths, tossing around fish and spraying an environmental message onto walls.

PangeaSeed, an ocean conservation foundation, has brought its globe-travelling art festival Sea Walls back to the Hawke's Bay city for a second year from March 19 to 26.

Nearly 30 artists from around the world are bring conservation issues to the fore with public murals.

Freeman White and John Berryman working on White's Sea Walls mural.
Megan Hunt

Freeman White and John Berryman working on White's Sea Walls mural.

Some international artists have spent days travelling to their concrete canvases, but for Napier's Freeman White his Raffles Street mural site was a five minute drive.

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He began work on Sunday to ensure it would be completed by the end of the week.

"This is by far the largest wall I've ever painted and I was a bit worried about the time and scale," he said.

White described himself as someone who panicked about completing work for an exhibition months before a deadline and applied this same attitude to his wall.

But by Tuesday morning he only had details left to complete.

The piece focused on a great white shark and a diver filming it.

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"It shows a man interacting with the shark in a non-threating way," he said.

"It's not about shock value, but creating a beautiful image that makes people think about how we see this apex predator."

The diver was a tribute to Canadian documentary film maker Rob Stewart.

Stewart was filming a follow up documentary to his 2006 film Sharkwater earlier this year when he drowned off the Florida keys coast.

White said the wall would feature a quote from Stewart and hoped it would be a fitting tribute to the conservationist.

Painting alongside White was Napier Boys' High School year 13 student John Berryman.

He registered as a volunteer and was assigned to White.

Berryman was pleased with his luck as he liked White's work and planned to study design at university.

The festival also included the Sustainable Coastlines mobile classroom in the city's centre, a beach clean up on the morning of March 25 starting from the classroom and a seaside scavenger hunt was available throughout the festival.

Napier's MTG will screen documentaries from from 2pm on March 25 along with an artist panel discussion at 5.30pm that afternoon.

 - Stuff

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