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Latest mural represents Gisborne region

More than 200 hours of work over seven weeks have been devoted to creating an enormous mural in the city centre.

Gisborne artist Leah McCann is grateful to people who stopped to talk and give her feedback as she painted.

It helped her get through those winter days when her hands were freezing cold and numb, she says.

The towering painting on the Bright Street side of the former King’s Theatre building was driven by a phrase in her head — “the flowers of every tomorrow are in the seeds of today”.

Ms McCann, 36, says the work incorporates everything about this region — the first to see the sun, the three rivers are in the blue of the sky, the flowers represent community members and the blue dots on the hill are the seeds of tomorrow. The various shapes and sizes of the flowers represent different cultures.

She has named the work Flower Mountain.

The mural is part of Project Ataahua’s Young Enterprise Scheme mission to beautify Gisborne city by commissioning public artworks.

This is the sixth mural the YES company has commissioned and it was unveiled last Friday when the team led a mural tour around the inner city sites.

The Flower Mountain mural was painted with the help of Eastland Community Trust, Resene, Eastland Scaffolding, Hirepool and McCannics.

Ms McCann is grateful for the vision and hard work of Project Ataahua, which made her mural possible.

The tour began at the Alfred Cox Skatepark, at the striking black, red and white mural by Ariki Brightwell.

Project Ataahua chief executive Nitha Vashti spoke about the history of each of the artworks as the group made their way around the city.

Next on the tour was a visit to the first mural commissioned by Project Ataahua for the Bright Street carpark opposite the War Memorial Theatre, and painted by Nick Tupara and Phil Berry. This depicts five waka-inspired forms with sun-dappled whales in a blue and black ocean.

Lina Marsh’s large work on the side of the Business Application building in Childers Road was next on the tour.

From there the group walked to the library, where they heard about Lina Marsh’s library mural, then it was on to the unveiling of Leah McCann’s new work.

The mural tour continued to the river, where they looked at the work of artists Simon Lardelli and Phil Berry painted on the Peel Street Bridge substation building.

It concluded at the BDO offices where people were able to buy merchandise such as prints of some of the artworks and bags printed with the Project Ataahua logo.

FLOWER MOUNTAIN: The team from Gisborne Girls’ High School’s Project Ataahua are (from left) Kate Plummer, Kaea Gillman and Nitha Vashti with artist Leah McCann stand in front of the sixth mural commissioned for Gisborne’s city centre. Picture by Paul Rickard