Youth take over the wall

The smell of paint fumes wafting down Wilkie Rd this week is a clear indication a change is in the wind for South Dunedin.

About 70 young people have picked up brushes and spray cans to transform the 160m railway embankment into a dazzling display of colour and imagination by way of a mural.

The mural is part of National Youth Week (May 17-23) and, not surprisingly, the theme for this year's event is ''Be the Change''.

Malcam Charitable Trust project co-ordinator Michela Carrington said prominent Dunedin artists including Aroha Novak, Guy and Anna Howard-Smith, Aaron Manuel and James Bellany were involved.

The artists had teamed up with more than 70 youths from King's High School, the Malcam Charitable Trust, the Dunedin Training Centre, Dunedin Community College, Pact, Idea Services and the Methodist Mission.

Businesses and Dunedin leaders, including MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, city councillor Jinty MacTavish and Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie were also helping to complete the mural.

The artists gave a two-week workshop in the build-up to starting the mural, to prepare those helping the project.

Paint was supplied by Keep Dunedin Beautiful, All City (Auckland) and Youth Fund.

Painting began last Sunday.

Miss Carrington was delighted with the progress.

''It was a brown wall with tagging all over it.

''Now it's looking awesome. The colour scheme represents night turning into day, which is a metaphor for change.''

Mr Manuel, a tattoo artist at Visual Intelligence, was disappointed to see someone had tagged his uncompleted work.

But, fortunately, the tagging could easily be painted over, he said.

The project is one of many events being held this week which recognise the contributions and achievements of young people in New Zealand, and inspires communities to value, support and affirm the diversity of young people.

The aim is to create a country where young people are vibrant and optimistic through being supported and encouraged to take up challenges.

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