Mural to coax a smile

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 05:00 02/01/2013
damian holt

DAB HAND: Damian Holt puts the finishing touches to a painting to brighten up the railway walkway in Brockworth Place.

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A wall in Riccarton littered with unsightly graffiti is being transformed into a work of art.

Addictions advocate Damian Holt has been painting a brightly coloured mural on the wall of Margaret Stoddart Retirement Village in the Brockworth Place railway walkway since the beginning of December.

Kenyan artist Jess De Boer started the project, but had to abandon it when she could not get a visa and had to leave New Zealand.

Holt picked up where she left off. He said that at first he was dubious about one of the images, telling people to smile, until he realised that it it did provoke smiles from passersby.

The mural, which is Holt's first, is a work in progress. He expected to finish another section by the end of next week but was not sure when the mural would be complete.

He believed the artwork would deter vandals. New graffiti tags had been done in the walkway on lamp-posts next to the mural, but not on the paintings.

"I think it will prevent graffiti. It's a bit of a social experiment," he said.

The mural was an initiative of the Deans Ave Precinct Society, which was fed up with constantly having to paint over the graffiti.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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