The town as art gallery

NGA PAKIWAITARA: Photographer and art teacher Drew Hill pastes up a magnified print of a scene from life in the Uawa-Tolaga Bay community. The images are part of a collective project that was originally inspired by French photograffeur JR’s installations in ‘the largest art gallery in the world’, the street. Pictures supplied

A GIANT photograph of a smiling toddler peers over the top of the Mexican-US steel border wall in French street artist JR’s political statement about immigration regulations.

Flyposted in public locations, the photograffeur’s large black-and-white images were the inspiration for Gisborne photographer and art teacher Drew Hill’s concept for an installation of giant photographs at locations around Uawa-Tolaga Bay.

“For the past 25 years I’ve taken black and white photographs of people on the Coast, in Tairawhiti and in the streets of Christchurch,” he says.

“The images are raw. They echo a bit of what JR does.”

Hill’s concept for the Uawa-Tolaga Bay street installation of magnified photographs was not so much political as about moments in the life of the community.

Photographed by Tolaga Bay Area School students, teachers and others, scenes of day-to-day life such as a kids’ rippa rugby team. Other pictures include a girl on the beach with a handful of shellfish, boys wading upriver with nets in hand and two boys with a water sample in a plastic tube were pasted on sites that include the fire station roller door, a school building and down the side of a superette.

The images are accompanied by QR codes that are embedded with recorded stories. An app that reads the codes can be downloaded onto the viewer’s cellphone.

Gisborne District Council’s endless printer operator Mark Cockburn, and James Blackburne of Architects 44, agreed to print images for a community-based project at Uawa-Tolaga Bay. The QR code designs for the collective installation, Nga Pakiwaitara, were created in Uawa-Tolaga Bay.

The technology is part of kids’ lives now, says Hill.

“I really wanted the kids to get involved because that’s what I do as an art teacher. They have cellphones and they take photos on them. All of this isn’t so different for them.

“There is a lot of scope for where we can go with this.”

The elements have taken their toll on some of the Uawa-Tolaga Bay prints but Hill plans to develop his concept with a billboard in Gisborne on which images that reflect lives in the Gisborne community would be pasted up.

Napier City Council has already shown interest in the concept for the Hawke’s Bay city.

The billboard idea is a grander extension of a project Hill worked on as an art school student. He used his pictures of empty buildings such as Gisborne’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Grey Street to create postcards. On the back of the postcard he wrote the story behind the image.

Then several years later, he discovered the endless printer, QR codes, and JR.

A GIANT photograph of a smiling toddler peers over the top of the Mexican-US steel border wall in French street artist JR’s political statement about immigration regulations.

Flyposted in public locations, the photograffeur’s large black-and-white images were the inspiration for Gisborne photographer and art teacher Drew Hill’s concept for an installation of giant photographs at locations around Uawa-Tolaga Bay.

“For the past 25 years I’ve taken black and white photographs of people on the Coast, in Tairawhiti and in the streets of Christchurch,” he says.

“The images are raw. They echo a bit of what JR does.”

Hill’s concept for the Uawa-Tolaga Bay street installation of magnified photographs was not so much political as about moments in the life of the community.

Photographed by Tolaga Bay Area School students, teachers and others, scenes of day-to-day life such as a kids’ rippa rugby team. Other pictures include a girl on the beach with a handful of shellfish, boys wading upriver with nets in hand and two boys with a water sample in a plastic tube were pasted on sites that include the fire station roller door, a school building and down the side of a superette.

The images are accompanied by QR codes that are embedded with recorded stories. An app that reads the codes can be downloaded onto the viewer’s cellphone.

Gisborne District Council’s endless printer operator Mark Cockburn, and James Blackburne of Architects 44, agreed to print images for a community-based project at Uawa-Tolaga Bay. The QR code designs for the collective installation, Nga Pakiwaitara, were created in Uawa-Tolaga Bay.

The technology is part of kids’ lives now, says Hill.

“I really wanted the kids to get involved because that’s what I do as an art teacher. They have cellphones and they take photos on them. All of this isn’t so different for them.

“There is a lot of scope for where we can go with this.”

The elements have taken their toll on some of the Uawa-Tolaga Bay prints but Hill plans to develop his concept with a billboard in Gisborne on which images that reflect lives in the Gisborne community would be pasted up.

Napier City Council has already shown interest in the concept for the Hawke’s Bay city.

The billboard idea is a grander extension of a project Hill worked on as an art school student. He used his pictures of empty buildings such as Gisborne’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Grey Street to create postcards. On the back of the postcard he wrote the story behind the image.

Then several years later, he discovered the endless printer, QR codes, and JR.

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