Dental journey on massive scale

A technicolour scene now fills a once flat wall in a courtyard at the University of Otago dental school in Frederick St, Dunedin.

Muralist Guy Howard-Smith is adding the final touches to a 20m mural commissioned by the faculty of dentistry that shows that life can be "a pressure cooker".

Staff and students approved the design which shows students from around the world and New Zealand all on the same journey at the school, Mr Howard-Smith said.

As part of the development of the Clinical Services Building, Dunedin muralist Guy Howard-Smith ...
As part of the development of the Clinical Services Building, Dunedin muralist Guy Howard-Smith (inset) adds a vibrant narrative to the courtyard area that links the outdoors to the indoor student common room in the Walsh Building yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

From a waka cutting through waves, faces look back at a poutama design, which here suggested the steps of knowledge, he said.

Others in the waka look forward to a clear sky.

Guy Howard-Smith
Guy Howard-Smith

Importantly, he said, the faces in the boat were shown connected as a family.

"Some of them are looking back to the steps they have taken, and some are looking ahead to the bird in flight, which is meant to represent the future — the places they’ll go," Mr Howard-Smith said.

University of Otago dean of the faculty of dentistry Michael Morgan said the mural was in an area that linked the outdoors to the indoor student common room in the Walsh Building.

The courtyard was used regularly but the area, as part of the development of the clinical services building, had needed brightening.

Staff and students were already delighted with the work Mr Howard-Smith had done, Prof Morgan said.

Among Mr Howard-Smith’s most notable paintings around Dunedin is one he completed with Aroha Novak on the Crown Hotel in Rattray St in 2015.

The mural includes Maori and Chinese history and depicts Chin Fooi, a Chinese businessman who came to Dunedin in the early 1900s, opening a laundry in the area.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

 

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