Nelson artists Geoff Noble, left, Miriam Hansen and Simon Hunter with some of the “billboards” at Founders Heritage Park last week. Photo: Andrew Board.

Taking art to the public

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Four Nelson artists have just put down their paint brushes after an impressive ten day, live art display at Founders Heritage Park.

The Billboard Project was part of the Nelson Arts Festival and saw artists Geoff Noble, Miriam Hansen, Simon Hunter and Mark Fa’avae create large-scale works of art on the grass outside The Granary.

The project was launched at last year’s festival, and made a comeback this year due to its popularity.

This year’s artists were given the theme Maungārongo – which means abiding peace –  and is centred on the 30 year anniversary of New Zealand being nuclear free.

Geoff Noble says that it’s been a great experience and, although each artist is conveying the same theme, the billboards have ended up all very different pieces.

“Mine is all about abiding peace and how being nuclear free is our choice and it’s up to us to keep it that way, while Mark Fa’avae’s work relates to peace and is represented with a dove.”

Simon Hunter’s work makes reference to his heritage in Taranaki by using topographical maps overlaid with a large albatross feather, while Miriam Hansen has stencilled peace campaigner Owen Wilkes.

Geoff says they managed to attract quite a crowd during their time at Founders, with people coming back on a daily basis to check out the progress until they finished on Thursday night.

“One of the ideas of the project is connecting artists with the community, which I think we’ve really nailed,” he says.

The paintings are now being exhibited at Nelson City Framers on Halifax St and will be sold via silent auction over this week – anyone interested can go to the gallery and put their price down.