Tuffery mural for Newtown School
June 7, 2018
One of New Zealand’s most prominent artists has returned to his roots to complete a mural for the recently refurbished Newtown School.
Michel Tuffery, who was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to art in 2008, said he was thrilled to have stylised the school hall on the corner of Mein and Riddiford Street.
Tuffery was born in Newtown where his mother settled after arriving from Samoa.
The colourful artwork, Kamala and the Hihi, pays homage to the region’s multicultural connections and vibrant history and is highly visible by both passing motorists and pedestrians.
Tuffery worked alongside graphic artist Charles Williams to design the image which features multi-coloured tiles, Pasifika patterns, a Hihi bird and Kamala the elephant.
“Kamala with Hihi is embedded with visual metaphors to initiate conversations throughout the community.
“The colourful triangles speak to the different lands that people have migrated from and the vibrancy of the community of Omārōrō (Newtown).”
The mural was commissioned by Newtown School who wanted to create publicly accessible artworks during the rebuild of its main teaching block after learning it was earthquake prone in 2012.
“It is exciting to see this wonderful street art transforming our school hall. It celebrates the vibrancy and cultural richness of our community,” said Newtown School Board of Trustees chairperson, Annette Gittos.
“The prominence of the native bird, the Hihi, is a symbolic acknowledgement of the whenua and habitats.
“Kamala, the elephant, was a gift to the children of New Zealand by the All India Women’s Conference in 1953. Kamala lived at the Wellington Zoo until she died in 1983,” she said.
Newtown School is now fundraising for this mural and other art projects around the school.
The new school building is expected to open in June.