PangeaSeed Foundation, in partnership with the Napier City Council and Alternative Arts Initiative, presented Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans in Napier, Hawke’s Bay. This event, in its second year, ran from March 19 to 26 with the creative participation of 26 internationally renowned muralists.
Artists, volunteers and project partners from countries around the world including the U.S., Spain, Russia, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, volunteered to paint large-scale murals addressing pressing ocean environmental issues. The artworks extended beyond environmental problems by providing visual solutions identifying the eradication of key trouble issues.
Last year’s inaugural Sea Walls event in Napier was an enormous success with participating artists creating and installing nearly 30 public murals. Each design focused on raising awareness regarding critical ocean issues, whilst providing the town with unique, one-of-a- kind, breathtaking murals. In addition to providing beautiful visual backdrops, the finished designs gave local citizens a sense of pride and ownership in their public spaces.
“In addition to our traditional large-scale murals, we were thrilled that this year’s efforts expanded into new mediums including sculpture. Our artist roster also grew to include several local Hawke’s Bay muralists who participated in the festival alongside globally renowned creatives,” said PangeaSeed Foundation’s New Zealand regional director, Cinzah Merkens. “We believe New Zealand is a special place with a unique marine environment deserving of protection. We look forward to enriching Hawkes Bay’s urban landscape with more public art in the coming years.”
With the completion of this year’s Sea Walls festival, Napier now boasts 53 unique ocean environmentally-themed murals. Each design is aimed to inspire and educate the community to become better stewards of our seas.
Hawaii-based PangeaSeed Foundation founder and director, Tre’ Packard, returned to Napier to co-lead the project. “Since 2014, on a volunteer basis, we’ve organized and curated our Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans program in 12 countries, collaborating with a growing network of over 250 artists, resulting in nearly 300 public murals in coastal communities around the world. We’ve built a world-class platform for artists to bring the oceans to the streets of communities large and small,” Packard said.
Napier City Mayor, Bill Dalton, said the murals were a wonderful addition to the city’s iconic Art Deco streetscape. Napier’s city council has received numerous awards and nationwide recognition since the first festival in 2016.
This year’s Sea Walls festival provided additional opportunities for families and children to participate. With the support of PangeaSeed organizers, US-based Bow Seat facilitated a scavenger hunt promoting ocean awareness. PangeaSeed partnered with Sustainable Coastlines NZ to create a mural on their Education Station, a pop up public class room, as well as hosting public talks and beach clean ups throughout the duration of the festival. The festival also featured film screenings, artist panel discussions, and an art exhibition showcasing original works by participating artists.
“Public art and activism can educate and inspire the global community to help save our seas. Regardless of your location – large metropolitan city or small seaside village – the ocean supplies us with the breath we take. Life on planet Earth cannot exist without healthy oceans. Dwindling global fish stocks, rising sea levels, and widespread pollution, are issues that impact everyone, regardless of location. As global citizens, we are responsible for the health of the oceans and the wildlife that calls it home,” said Packard.
Following March’s success of Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans in Napier, in June the Sea Walls team will redirect to sub-arctic Churchill, Canada, the polar bear capital of the world for its first ever event. Later in the year events will take place in Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexico (July), rounding out 2017 with a festival in October in Cairns, Australia.