Christchurch is known as the Garden City for its spectacular gardens and stunning spring blooms that turn the city into a festival of flowers – but the resurgent city is soon to be splashed in colour for an entirely different reason when work from one of the most infamous and influential contemporary artists in the world comes to town.
One of the largest collections of street art by UK artist Banksy will adorn the walls of the Canterbury Museum and will form part of the Oi YOU! RISE festival, a celebration of street art that is helping to put the cool back into Christchurch.
Banksy is well-known for his politically-charged work which has featured on walls, streets and buildings in some of the world’s most famous cities – now it is Christchurch’s turn.
RISE will open on 20 December and will run through until March with work displayed in more than three gallery spaces across three levels.
Work from Banksy and other leading progressive artists such as ROA, Thom Buchanan, Milton Springsteen and Vans the Omega, will all have their talents on show alongside reputable urban artists from New Zealand such as Christchurch’s own Wongi.
This is the first exhibition of its kind to be held at the Canterbury Museum – which currently houses the world’s greatest collection of Antarctica artefacts and some of the most significant Maori artwork in New Zealand – but the controversial works are expected to bring in a new breed of visitors.
The exhibition’s owners George Shaw and Shannon Webster own 22 original Banksy artworks and are thrilled to be able to work with the museum to help bring the Christchurch art scene to the attention of the rest of the world.
“Street art is being embraced by forward-looking cities the world over. Our aim is to find a permanent base for our collection in Christchurch and to make the city home to a world-class annual event,” says George.
George and Shannon have already organised street art festivals in Nelson and Adelaide and have indicated that while RISE is held at Canterbury Museum, the featuring artists may also create artworks around Christchurch’s central city with advance permission from building owners.
A city transformed
The RISE festival is just one of the many public art events that are transforming Christchurch.
SCAPE is a public art installation exhibition that runs from 29 September -2 November.
This exciting, thought-provoking and visually stunning project is held in Christchurch’s central city public spaces and features contemporary artists from across the world.
The Biennial event is renowned for showcasing leading international contemporary artists, such as German artist Mischa Kuball’s Solidarity Grid, as well as being a springboard for emerging local talent.
FESTA (Festival of Transitional Architecture) is another highly anticipated public art event taking place in Christchurch. The inaugural FESTA in 2012, the first and only festival of its kind, saw around 30,000 people turn out to participate in LUXCITY – a city made from light for one night.
FESTA 2013 (25 – 28 October) presents a City-Within-A-City and will transform Christchurch’s cityscape through a myriad of interventions, events, projects and public participation that will bring the transitional city to life.
Christchurch in the Canterbury region in the South Island is New Zealand’s largest region with a vast landscape of outdoor nature and adventure opportunities. It is also New Zealand’s oldest city with plenty of attractions to offer.
These eclectic festivals of life, culture and art are adding a new dimension to the city which is becoming one of the most forward-thinking in the world when it comes to creative landscapes and urban rejuvenation.
This is just one of the many reasons why Lonely Planet picked Christchurch as one of the top cities in the world to visit in 2013.