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Miriama makes waves as part of a new Wellington beautification project

13 May 2020

Designed and painted by artist Miriama Grace-Smith, Kilbirnie is the proud home to one of New Zealand’s newest murals. Brought to life in a rich assortment of Resene paint colours, the finished mural, titled ‘Te Taiao’, can be seen on the grounds of EBIS Wellington on the Tacy Street netball court wall – and is well worth viewing in person if you’re walking around the neighbourhood.

Commissioned by the Kilbirnie Business Network as part of the Kilbirnie Beautification Project, Miriama says the mural took three weeks to complete. Resene Aquarius, Resene Seeker and Resene Groovy are among the key colours featured in it.

The mural depicts the birds and marine life that inhabit the Wellington coastline and sea. Dolphins play in the harbour, an octopus slides across the ocean floor, paua and kina live in rock pools and shags dry their wings on the rocks. The Wellington wind has given rise to a mighty wave which separates land and sea,” she says.

“The biggest challenge for me, given that I was painting this mural in Wellington, was the unpredictable weather. There were many days that began with perfect weather that would suddenly turn in to terrible weather. Most days, I found myself battling with the Wellington wind.”

Miriama was assisted by friends Reuben Butler and Xoe Hall during its creation.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, Miriama’s work stretches across such a wide range of mediums, which includes street art, clothing, shoes, visual art and skate decks, among many others.

“My favourite mediums to work in are painting and printmaking, and I use Resene paint in the creation of most of my works. In particular, I've found Resene paint to be great to work with when I paint murals, canvases, skateboard decks and even footwear.”

However, commissioned work like murals often pushed an artist’s boundaries into new realms, which can lead to new discovery.

“I used a lot of the Resene Seeker for the sea on the Te Taiao mural, and it has now become my favourite Resene colour,” she shares.

When it comes to her style, Miriama finds that it seems to change a lot depending on her inspiration and influences. 

“I like the challenge of learning new styles,” she says. “But if I was to describe my style, I would describe it as being contemporary Māori. I have also been influenced by a number of artists, to name a few there is Robyn Kahu Kiwa, John Walsh, E. Mervyn Taylor and Michel Tuffery.”

Miriama Grace-Smith stands before her brand new mural titled ‘Te Taiao’, part of the Kilbirnie Beautification Project. Resene Aquarius, Resene Seeker and Resene Groovy are among the hues she used to create it. The mural can be viewed on the grounds of EBIS Wellington on the Tacy Street netball court wall.

To see more of Miriama’s incredible work, visit her website.

images Isaac Te Reina