A splash of colour for pool wall

By Lin Ferguson

More than 40 kids from Raetihi and Ohakune - plus a few adults as well - turned out to a weekend workshop to paint the wall of the Raetihi pool.

One of New Zealand's leading urban artists, Dallas Mihinui of Wanganui, is an exponent of the highly stylised personalised art form of Graf (a form of Graffiti art) which has, over the past five years, attracted commissions from councils and multinational companies across New Zealand.

Mihinui had been inspired in the early 1980s to explore the genre after seeing a documentary on hip-hop culture in New York.

"I don't see it as graffiti at all. I see it as art," he said.

The weekend workshops at Raetihi were set up after a discussion with a cousin there, who led Mihinui (a teacher, artist and youth worker) to set up the workshop.

Organiser Jude Rivlin said the workshops had been hugely popular - probably, in part, because of the glorious weather.

"The kids would paint for a while, get too hot, then dive into the pool and cool off for a while before painting again."

The mural, which runs across one wall of the pool, depicts the district of Ruapehu with local Maori mythology with tui, the awa and the mountain, she said.

Mihinui would paint the outlines and the kids would spray paint in like colouring in the images, she said.

"The age range was from about 9 years old to a few adults. Everyone loved the painting - they all really got into it."

At 6pm, when the pool closed, a free sausage sizzle was held by Mihinui for all his budding artist helpers.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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