A New Zealand city that has been devastated by earthquakes is making a colorful comeback.
Just this past Sunday on February 14th, Christchurch, the country’s third largest city, witnessed another earthquakeat 5.7 magnitude, which fortunately caused little damage. February 22nd will mark the 5th anniversary of the city’s deadly earthquake of 2011. On our visit right before Christmas 2015, we were shocked to see how much of the city center still sits amid crumbling ruins.
Entire blocks remain vacant.
Lifeless construction cranes fill the skyline.
However, as we wandered around, we saw that Christchurch is making a colorful comeback – in the form of large murals. Street art pieces are taking over the central business district where vast empty sections and bare, brick walls dominate the landscape. We picked up a mini-map of Christchurch marking where we could find street art and other pop up art pieces.
Since 2014, more than 25 huge murals have been produced as a part of Oi YOU! shows, and at least 10 are planned for this year. In addition, the SpectrumStreet Art Festival is currently happening now through April 17th. Basically, you can actually see the street art coming alive right before your own eyes!
We arrived to what we thought was a gray and depressing city, but later were impressed with the city’s vibrant street art scene.
The positive local vibe in Christchurch just goes to show that the city will go on.
In addition to street art, the city council has approved numerous other pop up art projects such as Re:START (a small shopping area made from shipping containers), oversized armchairs made from astro turf on Gloucester Street and living art such as the “Kaitiaki– The Keeper” in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.