It’s been four years since the earthquakes seriously shook up and messed up the city of Christchurch. Since then so much has changed.
Christchurch had always been branded as the ‘city with the Cathedral’. For over one hundred years the cathedral has been a Christchurch landmark, featured on thousands upon thousands of postcards and tourist photographs.
On it’s steps, locals and visitors listened to the Wizard, the Bible Lady, and others. Every summer, it was the backdrop to the Buskers Festival and the Festival of Flowers. But that was before the quakes.
Today it is still the ‘city with the Cathedral’ but it is a Cathedral that is in ruins with debate continuing about it’s future. And while the debate goes on, a cardboard Cathedral has temporarily taken its place.
Now, amongst the ruins, the rebuild, and the empty spaces, Christchurch has been developing a new brand, one that seems so at odds with its previous conservative nature.
Street Art, it appears, is emerging as the new face of Christchurch. Artists from around New Zealand and the world have been coming to the city and taking to the streets with stunning results.
There’s even talk of creating a Street Art Museum, a first for New Zealand and possibly the rest of the world.
The first steps towards this goal have already been made with the centrally located YMCA building transforming its squash courts and rock climbing facilities with street art magic.
One of the former squash courts features a cornucopia of paste-ups and sticker art from around the world. And in the middle of all that, covering three of the four walls is a long out-reaching heavily tattooed arm holding a cell phone in preparation of taking a selfie.
Another room features a schizophrenic ‘panic room’ by French artist Tilt. Tilt painted one half of the room pure white and positioned a white sofa to face the walls hung with a series of framed Bansky works. The other half of the room is pure chaos, with the walls and furniture having been paint ‘bombed’ into a kaleidoscope of colors.
And in yet another of the former squash courts, a piece of street art is brought to life with light and motion thanks to the video art collaboration between the artist and the videographer.
From there you enter the huge room that once housed the rock climbing walls. The first thing you notice is the row of four meter tall spray cans standing like columns protecting the now blackened room. Their nozzles face the rock climbing wall and light up the 8 five meter tall artworks, each of which uses a different color of the spectrum.
The Street Art at the YMCA runs from 14 February to 10 May 2015 and admission is free.
Maps of where to find street art around Christchurch can be picked up at the YMCA. Alternatively you you can download the Street Wise app for Android and iPhone.