Artists Gonzalo Aldana and Katu Teiti at the Te marae Moana mural on the seawall which depicts the Puaneinei flower in tribute to the late Joseph Brider. Photo: Melina Etches/22051005
Te Marae Moana’s bright ocean-themed mural at the seawall in Nikao continues to delight passing motorists, and yesterday 107 metres of the artwork was completed.
Rarotonga-based Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana, who is largely undertaking the project with local artist Katu Teiti, said Rarotonga’s 37 metre section of the entire 562 metre seawall length is now done.
For the project, each of the Cook Islands has been allocated the same 37 metres each of the seawall, Aldana said.
The first mural
section representation is Te Marae Moana, then the island of Mangaia (37 metres),
To finish off
Rarotonga’s section, the Puaneinei (Rarotonga Fitchia) fragrant flower species
which only grows on Rarotonga was painted on in a tribute to the late Joseph
Brider, who had been a champion for biodiversity and the Director of the Cook
Islands Natural Heritage Trust.
being the capital and the most populated island, there are 46 characters which
feature in its mural.
Next up for the
artists is the island of Mauke, without giving too much away, the artwork will
depict a famous legend, and local artist Clive Nicholas is collaborating with
the motif designs.
ocean themed mural is no easy task, the first process is the investigation into
the theme for each island, then its design putting all the “elements” together,
writing the narrative and presenting it to Te Marae Moana committee for its
review and green light to go ahead.
Teiti’s father was
also an artist, “so art is something that just came naturally,” he said, and is
enjoying working on the project and getting the feel back for art.
“Many people do
appreciate the mural, and we have had offers from people of Nikao to help paint
the wall white, so we are just waiting for their confirmation,” said Teiti.
Touching on the
negative comments on social media and ‘coconut wireless’ about the “distracting”
mural which may cause accidents, he said, “all that negative stuff and comments
is not good, people should be positive about this beautiful artwork
representing all of us, and also slow down and drive carefully”.
The mural will be
the largest of its kind in the South Pacific, representing stories of each of
the 15 islands of the Cooks, the work is a collaboration between multiple
agencies, including the Cook Islands Government, and environmental advocacy