This category contains 4 posts

Dawson Road Mural Project

I wanted to share with everyone this fantastic mural project , so great to see such a community project like this, overseen by Ema Tavola and the Otara Fresh Gallery. Well done Ema and all those involved….

This from Ema  “Kia ora friends of Fresh!

 I’m proud to share with you an exciting project I oversaw on the weekend, the Dawson Road Mural Project – a partnership between Manukau Arts, Parks, Libraries and Manukau Beautification Trust.

 With the help of 11 excellent volunteers (from Tangaroa College, Ferguson Intermediate, Macleans College and Sancta Maria) and 3 local artists, this impressive mural was painted over 2 days and one night with paints supplied by Manukau Beautification Trust.

And the Dawson Road Mural Project blog will be updated with ongoing documentation:

 Over the next week or so, Richard Misilei from Tupu Library and I will distribute certificates to the volunteers at their respective schools, to be acknowledged in front of their peers and the Macleans College student will also be awarded the school’s service to the community award.

 The mural is pretty gorgeous, so next time you’re in the Dawson area, I encourage you to stop the car and have a look! The design was developed in house by Nicole Lim and I, informed by a video project Manukau Arts commissioned in August, asking 50+ park and library users what they wanted the mural to look like.”

I have already mentioned this project while looking at Janet Lilo’s work (under Globalisation category),  where she has interviewed local kids about what they would like to see in a mural,  here’s the You tube once again.

Janet Lilo – Visual artist

I have mentioned to a few of you these very cool YouTubes done by Janet Lilo,  here are a few of them…

‘Let Love You’ & ‘So Sick’ , Janet Lilo

Looking at the social networking site bebo and what people are putting a private image of themselves in a public space..

Dawson Road Mural Project

A new large scale outdoor mural for Ferguson Oaks Park onDawson Road Otara.  Commisioned by Manukau Arts, Libraries and Parks  in partnership with Manukau Beautification Trust.   To find out their ideas forthe mural and what  it should represent a series of interviews have been undertaken with park and library users from the Otara community…

Janet Lilo Sapporo Artist in Residence Vlog5

As artist in residence in Sapporo, Japan… Mall Dancing

Len Lye

I just had to document these brillant short films by Len Lye, amazingly created in the 1930’s  for the GPO as an early informercial type series.  Why can’t today’s infomercials be as creative (no more barbie presenters telling us “but wait there’s more…”   enjoy  !!

A Colour Box, Len Lye (1935 )

Rainbow Dance, Len Lye (1936) 

Trad Tattoo (1937)

Jacob Lawrence

As part of our Studio we were asked to look at an artist and one of their images.  The work I chose was from a series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence. 

Jacob Lawrence ( 1917 – 2000)


Between 1915 and 1920 as many as one million African Americans moved from the rural south to the northern cities, in what became known as the Great Migration.  During this milieu of mass migration and the depression of the 1920s and 30s black culture was able to flourish, culminating in the Harlem Renaissance.

Jacob Lawrence was born in 1917 and moved to Harlem, New York City, in 1924 with his mother and siblings, it was here that Jacob Lawrence was first involved with art and others artists,  He eventually, in the late 1930s, was one of many artists who were employed and trained by the Federal Arts Projects in New York.

The art work that first drew my attention is from his migration series, I like the simplicity and use of colour, though it portrays much more.



“The female worker was also one of the last groups to leave the South”

The Migration of the Negro Series, panel no.57, (1940-1941).

Casein tempura on hardboard, (45.7 cm x 30.5 cm)

This relatively small sized painting on hardboard is part of the Migration of the Negro series (1940 -41),  in which Lawrence uses his own distinctive style of Visual Narrative to depict the mass migration of blacks from the South in a 60 panel series.

The Great Migration was not just an economic but also a social and cultural event, in which millions of African Americans took over control of their own lives which had been denied them in the South.  From an early age Jacob Lawrence had been surrounded by family and community stories of the Migration, giving the series as a whole a genuine authenticity that is clearly apparent.

 “ I don’t think in terms of history about that series. I think in terms of contemporary life. It was such a part of me that I didn’t think of something outside. It was like I was doing a portrait of something. If it was a portrait, it was a portrait of myself, a portrait of my family, a portrait of my peers. “  Jacob Lawrence

Although black women did want to migrate North, they were paid such poor wages that it would take them much longer to have enough money to move, frequently husbands moved ahead of their wives and families until they had enough money for the whole family to migrate.

Lawrence called his style “dynamic cubism”, although the figures in most of his paintings tend to be quite static like even though you can see there is movement.  The simplicity and restraint in the images portray more to the viewer than if further details were included. 

In this image, Lawrence portrayed a woman engaged in her work at a commercial laundry. She is washing clothes. Rugs and blankets hang behind her. The red handle of the woman’s washing stick creates the painting’s focal point and divides the composition down the centre,  it is a dense and well balanced composition, suggesting a resilience and perseverance that is an underlying theme in this series.  

He said about this work in 1945  “The human subject is the most important thing.  My work is abstract in the sense of having been designed and composed, but it is not abstract in the sense of having no human content… [I] want to communicate. I want the idea to strike right away”

I think he has achieved this goal admirably in this painting in its own right and most certainly when viewed as intended as part of a series.




Author Unknown, “Jacob Lawrence”. n.d. American Art, Vol 8, No. 3/4 (Summer – Autumn 1994), pp 134-136.  23rd March 2009. <;

Harkins Wheat, Ellen.  “Jacob Lawrence and the Legacy of Harlem”. Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1  (1986), pp. 18-25.  The Smithsonian Institution. <>

Powell, Richard J.  “Jacob Lawrence: Keep on Movin’”.  American Art, Vol. 15, No. 1  (Spring, 2001), pp. 90-93.  The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  <>

Johnson,David.  “Important Cities in Black History: Atlanta to Washington, DC: landmarks in African-American history”. n.d. FactMonster Database, Pearson Education, Inc. 23rd March 2003. <;

Nesbett, Peter T, DuBois, M, Hills, POver the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence.  United States, 2001.

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