Award-winning mural unveiled in Kaitaia by artist Sylvie Currin

Artist Sylvie Currin has unveiled her award-winning mural titled ‘Kauri, Spirit of Resilience’ in Kaitaia. 

Sylvie was one of ten winners from across the country who took out the top prize in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Mural Competition 2023. 

The mural is located in a busy area of Kaitaia on the back entrance of a charity shop on Ward Lane.

Sylvie was inspired by the Māori proverb ‘I orea te tuatara ka puta ki waho – A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions’.

“This profoundly resonates with me – it encapsulates a spirit of resilience, a push to persevere in the face of adversity, something we all can relate to in challenging times. Drawn towards its encouraging message, I felt inspired to incorporate this idea into a design meant to reinvigorate one of Kaitaia’s neglected and weather-beaten walls I frequently pass by.”

The mural is painted in the style of Banksy and illustrates children working together to plant a kauri tree with the words ‘from small beginnings come great things’.

“With this symbolic image, I wish to convey that even small acts, have profound value and can bring positive change. I’ve chosen to draw inspiration from Banksy to resonate with a younger audience, instilling in them this powerful yet simple narrative of action and impact,” says Sylvie.

“I have really enjoyed working on my mural of children planting a Kauri tree. It was a great privilege to have an opportunity to create an artwork of encouragement and hope in our community. I wish that this simple message, delivered in street art style, would inspire passers-by to nurture life and the environment.”

The Resene Nature Mural Competition, which is part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from April to June 2023. Community members were called on to submit environmentally-themed mural designs to paint on a wall in their local community. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected in June based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, originality and creativity. Winners had up to 12 months to bring their mural to life.

Winning artists received a $1,000 commission once the mural is completed, along with a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson says: “Our Resene Nature Mural Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. The beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride, deterring vandalism and reducing anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”

“We were impressed with the dozens of high-calibre entries we received, so much so that narrowing the selection to just ten winners was a tough task! We’re thrilled to see the end result of Sylvie’s mural coming to life.”

Since its inception in 2017, there have been 57 Nature Murals commissioned as a result of the programme.

The ten winning artists and regions are listed below, and the designs can be viewed here.

  • – Brigita Botma (Coromandel Town): Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute
  • – Sylvie Currin (Kaitaia): Kauri, Spirit of Resilience
  • – Terri Donaldson (Maungaturoto): The Creatures of Kaipara
  • – Mel Eaton (Christchurch): Floating with Whio
  • – Natasha Fitzpatrick (Auckland): Protect us
  • – Stan Mans (Hastings): Breath of Life
  • – Melisa Nocelli (Arrowtown): Where Wildlife Matters
  • – Kiran Parbhu (Wellington): The Birds and the Bees (and all the pollinators in between!)
  • – Romina Romero (Auckland): Pukapuka o Tamaki (Lungs of Auckland)
  • – Robert Scanlan (Christchurch): The Southern Migration of the Godwit

Sylvie’s mural is located on the back entrance of a charity shop on Ward Lane in Kaitaia. The Resene colours used in the mural include:

  • White
  • Black
  • Tree Frog
  • Japanese Laurel
  • Crusoe
  • Green House
  • Wham
  • Citron
  • Citrus
  • Sublime
  • Flourish
  • Chill Out
  • Gravel

View a map of all Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Murals here.

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