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19 July 2022

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Eye-catching mural turns heads

Saturday 26 March 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Eye-catching mural turns heads
Artist Ashley Chaloner is proud to assist with the Marae Moana seawall mural. MELINA ETCHES/22032305

The bright eye-catching Marae Moana mural at the Nikao Seawall keeps turning heads.

Using water-based paint for exteriors, nearly 60 metres of the 560-metre mural has been completed.

Local artist Ashley Chaloner is one of the artists working on the Marae Moana project led by Rarotonga based Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana and local artist Katu Teiti.

Chaloner has always loved drawing and painting since she was little and is grateful to be working on the mural.

“It’s an awesome feeling, and considering the length of the sea wall it certainly is a significant project.”

Working under the guidance of Aldana, Chaloner says she is learning as much as she can and soaking up pointers.

“He (Aldana) has been teaching me new things, so this experience is good.
“It’s actually not too bad painting on the wall, and it doesn’t take long for the paint to dry.”

And painting along the main road has its perks.

Artist Gonzalo Aldana starts work on the Nikao Seawall inspired by Marae Moana. PHOTO: CALEB FORTHERINGHAM/22022104

“The community spirit is really good, people drop off water and food, shout out positive comments and beep their horns, we have such a good community here,” said Chaloner.

On Wednesday, visiting Cook Islander Tuira Ramea and her sister Elisabeth were seen admiring the artwork.

“I’m so happy it’s being done, it’s beautiful, this bare wall is now being brought to life,” said Tuira, who keeps up with the artwork progress on Facebook.

“I knew I had to come and see it myself. I can’t wait for it to be completed, and I’m happy that our local artists are involved in this project,” she added.

The ambassador for Marae Moana, Kevin Iro has confirmed that more local artists would be involved in the mural project.

“We want this mural, which will be the largest of its kind in the South Pacific, to tell the story of the Cook Islands’ 15 islands,” Iro earlier said.

“We’re hoping it will be an educational experience.”

The project is a collaboration between multiple agencies, including the Cook Islands Government, and environmental advocacy group Seacology.

The mural is expected to be completed in the next few months.