When I first moved to Christchurch, there were very few wall murals and the outdoor sculptures were just statues of monarchs or founding fathers. For my art fix, I headed off to the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, tucked in behind the museum in the Botanic Gardens. It was a lovely building, full of many wondrous works of art. It was too small and could only have a fraction of its collection on display. I was delighted to visit the new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu in 2003. My favourite pieces were on display and there were galleries full of paintings I had never seen before.
When the earthquakes struck and the gallery was closed, I thought it would be years before I saw art in Christchurch. I was wrong. It seamed that every smooth wall and every spare space made way for art.
The road to Sumner became an art gallery when all the shipping containers got decorated. When I arrived in Sumner, almost every container, fence and wall had been pimped out.
New Brighton and Lyttelton were the next colourful destinations. What could have been depressing road trips became an adventure. I wanted to see what the locals had in store.
The ruined buildings in the central city became the canvas for many artists, and they made walking through town much more enjoyable that it could have been. The Justice Precinct has copies of works of art on the wall. Copies of paintings are on a wall on Moorhouse Avenue.
Everywhere I looked, there was a mural on a wall. Unfortunately, a mural on Barbadoes Street has almost disappeared because of the construction of a new building. I expect I’ll be waiting a long time to see it in all its glory again.
Re:START Mall is pretty colourful. I think I can count that as a work of art.
Gap Filler created works of art too. They really are almost sculptures. The spaces created were unexpected and made me smile.
I have missed the Art Gallery and I am looking forward to wandering through its rooms again. However, when it was closed, I realised one important thing: Christchurch is an art gallery.