City murals seen as tagger deterrent

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 08:39 30/01/2014
Rob Hood
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ

BOLD LOOK: Christchurch artist Rob Hood putting the final touches to his St Asaph St mural.

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Christchurch artist Rob Hood has added to the city's growing street art scene with a large mural on St Asaph St.

The mural is painted on the side of one of the few red brick buildings left standing in the city centre. It features large words that read: "This wall can't talk."

The mural was funded by the Ministry of Justice and commissioned by the Christchurch City Council. The $6000 mural is one of three commissioned to deter taggers, with one by artist Kate McIntyre on Colombo St and another by Cristina Silaghi on Durham St that has since been demolished.

Hood said he was fascinated by political murals in Mexico and Ireland and had originally planned to paint a large portrait of former New Zealand prime minister Sir Michael Savage.

He said the large slogan was a reference to the meaning that people give inanimate objects.

"I was looking at how we imbue artworks with meaning and they take on a life of their own. And that history of how we give meaning to objects.

"It also plays on that idea, if walls had ears. It is humorous and slightly absurd. I think humour is really important."

The mural was largely completed in August, but had to be retouched this month after a leak in the building damaged it.

The three sites were chosen by council staff as they were suitable for murals and had been heavily targeted by taggers. The murals are part of a broader initiative to deter tagging in the city centre, which rose 27 per cent from February 2011 to February 2012.

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