Askew One's painting of the late Ralph Hotere recently brought alive a dull wall in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland -- and, indeed, lifted the whole neighbourhood.
There was an extra resonance that most won't have been aware of. Askew's series of My Style Journey blog posts (which has temporarily disappeared from the internet, but will hopefully return soon), tracing his influences from childhood, began in that neighbourhood, with the informal, often illegal, street works of the people who lived there.
Back then, the keepers of the ratepayers' purse didn't fund art for scruffy suburbs (indeed, they generally don't now). But those were the works that people lived with, sometimes for years. Ralph would have understood that.
The project has already been profiled internationally. But Hotere was only the start.
A wall in Mt Eden has been secured for a similar tribute to the late Pat Hanly -- and we at Public Address are in discussions with Askew and Hamish Keith, who is managing the Cultural Hero Walls project, about securing a wall near the Auckland city library for a Margaret Mahy work.
The Mahy project will be a special one for us, because Jolisa's brilliant, moving post on in remembrance of Margaret and her work, “Glory! Glory! There’s the salt!”, is one of the best things we've published. I have high hopes of Jolisa making it the topic of her blog post for the year.
But Pat Hanly comes first, and the PledgeMe page is open for that now. The $11,000 target includes fair payment to Askew, who too often works for little more than the cost of materials, simply because he wants to see the project done.
Aucklanders and others (but particularly Aucklanders), please, reach in to your digital wallets and give a little (or a lot). There's something special going on here. It means us living in a better, more conscious, more colourful city. A city with a memory that also lives.