The mural design, based on a portrait photo of Rita Angus taken by Theo Schoon circa 1947, will feature on the west side of the Dominion Building in the centre of Wellington.
Mayor Justin Lester, Arts and Culture portfolio lead, welcomes this latest addition to the city’s landscape.
“We introduced our Arts on Walls public art programme in 2017 to reflect the value accessible art provides. It creates a colourful and vibrant atmosphere, and a sense of place and pride in our environment.
“The Rita Angus mural will be a great contribution to Wellington’s city canvas,” he adds.
Associate Arts portfolio holder Councillor Nicola Young has been instrumental in the Council’s strong focus on public art in the city.
“Taking art to the streets makes it available to everyone, and much more fun. I hope it will encourage more people to visit art galleries, by reducing the perception of exclusiveness.”
The project was initiated by street art advocate, illustrator and museologist, Bruce Mahalski, who raised finances through crowd funding, sponsorship, and funding from Wellington City Council.
“I have always loved Rita’s work. One day I was walking down Willis Street and I looked up and imagined a big painting based on her famous 1938 self-portrait looking down at me. We ended up basing the mural on the Schoon photo, but she’ll still be there for all to see.”
Bruce commissioned internationally renowned street artist, Askew One aka Elliot O’Donnell, based on the strength of his portraiture work and ability to paint on a large scale. The Auckland-based artist is looking forward to starting his new artwork in the capital.
“I’m really excited this project is finally happening, I know it’s been a long time in the planning, way before I was brought on board. It’s an honour to be creating this mural of one of our country’s most iconic artists, and a privilege to paint my first major large scale work in Wellington,” says Askew One.
Preparation for the mural starts on Saturday 12 January, with the wall being cleaned and getting an undercoat. Mural painting starts Monday 14 January and is likely to take up to three weeks, weather permitting.
As well as contributing $5,000 to this project, Council will manage the worksite while the artist is painting.
The major sponsor is Ryman Healthcare which operates the Rita Angus retirement home in Wellington.