Christchurch showcases top street artists

Christchurch showcases top street artists

A Christchurch curator is showing off the country's top street artists, opening an exhibition and creating huge murals as part of a festival to honour the art form.

The Garden City is quickly forging a reputation as the country's street art capital.

From fine art to grunge, it is the biggest street art festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

It's an art with a chequered history, but make no mistake – this is the work of true creatives.

No two pieces look the same – all of it punchy, vivid and full of attitude.

"It's about creating art for New Zealanders to enjoy and a platform for New Zealand artists," says festival director George Shaw.

A central city YMCA has been converted for the festival, with squash courts making way for art.

But there are also murals all over the city, brightening empty spaces left by the earthquakes.

It takes a considerable amount of time to pull it all together.

"Last week we've been working 17-, 18-hour days putting everything in place. We had eight people in the space upstairs working until 3am," says Mr Shaw.

The theme is perspective. One installation shows the state of many derelict, quake-damaged buildings.

"We've got DTR, a local graffiti art crew, to recreate this room and show what it was like if you got into one of those broken buildings," says Mr Shaw.

Others take a mind-bending approach. One installation is made up of four individual pieces of Perspex glass. Individually they don't look like much, but together it's a beautiful piece of art.

The festival will run through to April but the art will stay around for much longer.

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