Albatross centre's new mural totally bird-free

St Hilda's Collegiate pupil Brianna Thomson (17) is silhouetted by a colourful mural created by...
St Hilda's Collegiate pupil Brianna Thomson (17) is silhouetted by a colourful mural created by fellow St Hilda's art pupils and New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery at the Royal Albatross Centre yesterday. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
When you draw on a whiteboard with permanent marker, it is atrocious.

But when you draw on a window with coloured markers, it is most definitely art.

Fine art pupils from St Hilda's Collegiate School got to work with one of New Zealand's leading Pasifika artists, Michel Tuffery, to create an environmental mural at the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head yesterday.

Part of the printmaker, painter and sculptor's professional practice is to tackle collaborative art projects with indigenous peoples around the world, and he invited a selected group of year 12 and 13 Maori and Pasifika art pupils to help him with the mural.

"We've decided we wouldn't do another albatross.

"Instead, we're basically drawing a whole mural on what the albatross consumes."

The former Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts graduate said in between giving short art classes at St Hilda's he had been interviewing scientists and co-ordinators at the Royal Albatross Centre and found the giant birds eat a lot of octopus and squid.

He and the pupils had drawn the marine animals on a row of windows inside the centre, and given them a strong "Pasifika flavour".

"We could have easily just drawn another octopus, but we stylised the whole thing by using some of the traditional zones from home."

The finished product was a mural that looked remarkably like a colourful stained glass window, he said.

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