Digital reproduction a lifeline for all Mudge murals

Council awaiting report on costs and options

Council awaiting report on costs and options

PRESERVING HISTORY: Two options are being explored to save the Graeme Mudge-painted mural on the side of Gisborne District Council building in Fitzherbert Street — full removal and preservation or digital reproduction, the latter a process that could be used to preserve all of the late Mr Mudge’s murals.

File picture

A digital reproduction could save late artist Graeme Mudge’s mural on the Fitzherbert Street council building and possibly all his other murals in the future, Gisborne District Council has been told. The possibility the mural might be lost when the building is demolished because it contains asbestos created a huge public response that extended overseas.

Spokesman for the Kibble and Dwight families, Martin Kibble, said they were now possibly leaning towards the reproduction of the mural, which features his late father (John) and John Dwight — two local personalities. The council has approved expenditure of $4000 for a digital preservation of the mural as it awaits a full staff report on costs and options. Programme manager Paul Naske said the cost for a full removal and preservation would be up to nearly $46,000.

Martin Kibble said the asbestos report they gathered showed it was a very low-grade asbestos and it gave support to saving the mural given that they could get an expert to remove the wall basically in one piece. The council report agreed but said it all came down to cost. Luckily there was a builder in town accredited to do the job.

Placement on Lawson Field Theatre

The idea was to take it out, turn it into a billboard by taking the lining off the inside of the wall, lining it with plywood and detaching it from the building. If they could take it out in one piece they hoped it could be placed on the side of the Lawson Field Theatre.

That would be a fantastic place given the connection between former council officers and town criers John Dwight and John Kibble, the people of the town and people who trod the boards of the theatre when it first opened. It would also give a chance to replant the memorial tree for the two Johns. The families hoped to eventually have a dedication of the replaced mural, a new memorial tree and the memorial plaque.

“We hope to make a good story out of this,” said Martin Kibble.

Sponsorship offers

In regard to the removal option, he believed it was not necessary to bring in an arts conservator and this would save $9000 from the original estimate for the full replacement. He had also received offers from local businesses of sponsorship of materials.

Plan B was a digital reproduction of the art work. If it was printed on an aluminium substrate it would have a life of 15 years before needing the process again. If a panel was damaged it could be repaired. That system could also be extended to the other Mudge murals around the city.

High sentiment

There had been an immense response to a Gisborne Herald story after the previous council meeting. There was high sentiment about this and all the Mudge murals. The story had attracted thousands of shares on Facebook not only in New Zealand but overseas.

“Please let’s sort this out because I want to carry on with my life,” said Mr Kibble.

In answer to a question, he said the modern take on the artwork — and he thought Mr Mudge would be quite happy about it — was a reproduction. That could also be used to preserve the other 17 Mudge murals.

A digital reproduction could save late artist Graeme Mudge’s mural on the Fitzherbert Street council building and possibly all his other murals in the future, Gisborne District Council has been told. The possibility the mural might be lost when the building is demolished because it contains asbestos created a huge public response that extended overseas.

Spokesman for the Kibble and Dwight families, Martin Kibble, said they were now possibly leaning towards the reproduction of the mural, which features his late father (John) and John Dwight — two local personalities. The council has approved expenditure of $4000 for a digital preservation of the mural as it awaits a full staff report on costs and options. Programme manager Paul Naske said the cost for a full removal and preservation would be up to nearly $46,000.

Martin Kibble said the asbestos report they gathered showed it was a very low-grade asbestos and it gave support to saving the mural given that they could get an expert to remove the wall basically in one piece. The council report agreed but said it all came down to cost. Luckily there was a builder in town accredited to do the job.

Placement on Lawson Field Theatre

The idea was to take it out, turn it into a billboard by taking the lining off the inside of the wall, lining it with plywood and detaching it from the building. If they could take it out in one piece they hoped it could be placed on the side of the Lawson Field Theatre.

That would be a fantastic place given the connection between former council officers and town criers John Dwight and John Kibble, the people of the town and people who trod the boards of the theatre when it first opened. It would also give a chance to replant the memorial tree for the two Johns. The families hoped to eventually have a dedication of the replaced mural, a new memorial tree and the memorial plaque.

“We hope to make a good story out of this,” said Martin Kibble.

Sponsorship offers

In regard to the removal option, he believed it was not necessary to bring in an arts conservator and this would save $9000 from the original estimate for the full replacement. He had also received offers from local businesses of sponsorship of materials.

Plan B was a digital reproduction of the art work. If it was printed on an aluminium substrate it would have a life of 15 years before needing the process again. If a panel was damaged it could be repaired. That system could also be extended to the other Mudge murals around the city.

High sentiment

There had been an immense response to a Gisborne Herald story after the previous council meeting. There was high sentiment about this and all the Mudge murals. The story had attracted thousands of shares on Facebook not only in New Zealand but overseas.

“Please let’s sort this out because I want to carry on with my life,” said Mr Kibble.

In answer to a question, he said the modern take on the artwork — and he thought Mr Mudge would be quite happy about it — was a reproduction. That could also be used to preserve the other 17 Mudge murals.

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