Demolition Art Exhibition Opening

This article was created by Monique Steele and was published in The Press and Stuff News (Fairfax Media) on 17/11/2017.

The walls of a Christchurch building fated for demolition have been transformed into a living art exhibition.

Local artists used the walls of the Presbyterian Support Services building on Bealey Ave as the canvas for displaying their unique artworks.

Artists from across the city took part in the project at the earthquake-damaged building, ranging in age from 5 to 65.

Mila and Jake Clark in front of his mural for his daughter, saying: "Ahakoa he iti he pounamu. Although it is small it ...
Mila and Jake Clark in front of his mural for his daughter, saying: “Ahakoa he iti he pounamu. Although it is small it is a treasure.” MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF

Ten-year-old Hugo Fischer was thrilled to finally do his spray paint art in a public space rather than just in his backyard.

His design – a large spray can spraying words including love, hope, strong and connected – filled an empty room in the condemned building.

Hugo Fischer, 10, with his mural.
Hugo Fischer, 10, with his mural. MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF

“The opportunity to have a free space to do something is huge,” mum Sarah Fischer said.

“He’s always sketching ideas. He’s usually in the backyard working with a piece of plywood.”

Hugo said when he was older, he wanted to create murals around the city, just like his favourite local street artist Jacob Yikes.

Anita, Oliver, 6, Paul and George Knight, 3, in front of Oliver's artwork "Monster".
Anita, Oliver, 6, Paul and George Knight, 3, in front of Oliver’s artwork “Monster”. MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF

“It gives me a lot of inspiration, actually.”

Street artist and father-of-two Jake Clark immortalised his 5-year-old daughter, Mila, in a mural saying: “Ahakoa he iti he pounamu. Although it is small it is a treasure.”

Clark, a screen printer and graphic artist by trade, was inspired by his daughter, completing her mural and a large, colourful eyeball on a neighbouring wall.

“The time – it was testing, but the reward was well worth it.”

Second-year art student at Ara Institute of Canterbury Madeline Thompson used a tight stairwell as the canvas for her three-wall mural Tea Time, depicting the power of social interaction over a cup of tea.

Photographs of the finished artworks will be collated into a Presbyterian Support Upper South Island (PSUSI) 2018 calendar before the building is demolished in the coming weeks.

Oliver Knight, 6, creating one of his many artworks scattered around the PSUSI building.
Oliver Knight, 6, creating one of his many artworks scattered around the PSUSI building. SUPPLIED/AMY GIBBS

The project was the group’s way of honouring more than 100 years of social service in New Zealand, based at the Bealey Ave premises for the last 24 years.

Chief executive Vaughn Milner said it was “a bit sad” to lose the building, which was filled with memories for his staff of 45.

“As we farewell this building, which has serves us for 25 years or so, we’re happy it will go down with some colour and wonderful works of art.”

Madeline Thompson in the early stages of her "tea time" three-wall mural.
Madeline Thompson in the early stages of her “tea time” three-wall mural. MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF

PSUSI supported children, youth, older people and families from Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, North and Mid Canterbury, and Christchurch communities with services including social work, counselling, programmes for the elderly and community initiatives.

In 2016-17, more than 7200 clients used 66 PSUSI services through the 10 regional or satellite service centres throughout the upper South Island.

  • The exhibition was open to the public on Saturday 18th November from 10am to 4pm at 44 Bealey Ave.
Madeline Thompson's three-wall mural "tea time" in a stairwell of the PSUSI building.
Madeline Thompson’s three-wall mural “tea time” in a stairwell of the PSUSI building. MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF
Children busy on Sunday creating their artwork for the PSUSI art project.
Children busy on Sunday creating their artwork for the PSUSI art project. SUPPLIED/AMY GIBBS

If you would like to purchase a wall calendar created with artwork from the exhibition, click here.

To find out where Presbyterian Support’s main Christchurch office has shifted to, click here.

To read more about what Presbyterian Support does and the services PS provides, click here.