New mural to power up the red zone

New Brighton artist Nathan Ingram has painted a mural in the former red zone that complements...
New Brighton artist Nathan Ingram has painted a mural in the former red zone that complements other artwork encouraging people to play games in the area. Photo: Supplied
A vibrant new road mural is brightening up mid-winter days in the former Christchurch red zone, with the artist hoping it will encourage people to explore the space.

‘Crossings’ by New Brighton artist Nathan Ingram, also known as Dr Suits, is an abstract artwork painted on Burwood’s Corserland St.

The street leads through a range of public activities facilitated by landowners Toitū Te Whenua LINZ and leaseholders Life in Vacant Spaces.

The mural features geometric shapes that play on the way roads remain in the red zone in spite of the absence of the houses they once served.

A collaboration between Dr Suits and arts facilitators Watch this Space, it is one of a series of creative additions to a nine-hectare area known as East x East.

“It heightens the impact of the road markings to a more purely aesthetic level, while also encouraging the viewer to enter the work and play across its shapes and lines,” said Watch this Space’s Dr Reuben Woods.

“It also plays on the natural environment by aligning with the shadows cast by nearby power poles.”

The mural is complemented by another 80s-inspired artwork by local artists Porta and Bols – the latest addition to their ‘Power Up!’ interactive installation.

A new road mural in the former red zone. Photo: Supplied
A new road mural in the former red zone. Photo: Supplied
Painted onto a shipping container, the new artwork uses a pixelated style reminiscent of a video game screen, inviting people to play the nearby ‘Power Up!’ treasure hunt game.

‘Power Up!’ includes retro arcade game rewards – such as coins, potions, treasure chests and swords – that are distributed around the area for people to seek out and power up.

“The game not only adds to the idea of playing in the red zone, but also draws on the history of the area as a site for family homes where children grew up playing,” said Woods.

All the artworks and games ultimately aim to encourage people to explore and reimagine the area.

Said Woods: “The red zone is loaded with associative meanings and memories, but at the same time needs to speak of the future and what we can do with these spaces. Adding creative interventions is a good way to encourage people to think about their surroundings and how to engage with [them].”

A grant from the city council’s Red Zone Transitional Land Use fund was approved by Te Tira Kāhikuhiku to help fund the creation of the new murals.

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