Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Waiheke artwork

You probably couldn't get further away from each other in terms of the weather - from Waiheke Island off Auckland in mid-Summer to the northern-most tip of Scotland in mid-Winter; but the landscape is similar - islands, water, and beauty.

When we visited Waiheke for Barry's birthday, I was truly taken by a piece of public art.  We first came across it outside the fabulous Library - it was on the windows of a Learning Centre. At first I didn't really think of it as public art; it looked like something nifty an enthusiastic tutor had stencilled on the window.

The words "Before I die..." were big enough and bold enough to grab my attention. I moved in closer to see what had been written in the dash.

It says "learn something new."

I loved it and felt positive and uplifted by it.

The next day we wandered past the same building, but on another side, and came across more stencils. They were smaller this time but equally intriguing. 

By this stage I was still thinking it was a clever engagement idea by the Learning Centre; almost marketing and promotion in a way. All about learning something new, learning Italian and how to use Google Drive. It made me smile.

The next day however, we walked around the building in a third direction and I was bowled over the boldness of the work.

In many ways, the first three words could be part of any creative writing course, but something changes when you stencil them boldy onto a wall; and offer chalk and markers for folk to use to fill in the dash.  It becomes interactive art; it becomes a way of sharing hopes and dreams; it changes, morphs and is renewed.  People come back to see what else has been dreamed of; people tick off their dreams.

There were  a few cheeky ones in there; but mostly they spoke about hopes for families and children; of dreams for individuals to live happy and love-filled lives; and to care for animals and the environment.

I loved the positivity I saw on the wall and on the windows.  I loved that those three words had encouraged folk to think about what mattered to them and what they hoped for.

It made me think how would I fill that dash?  What things are so important to me that I'd dare to write them on a public wall and 'say them out loud"?

Whoever designed it and did it (no attribution I could see) - my thanks.


  1. I wonder if you and Barry added to that wall? Fabulous concept. No wonder you were drawn to it.

  2. I love this! What a great piece of public art.


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