24 November 2020

Pop-up penguins to hit Christchurch streets in the summer sun


Article Published by Stuff Novembe

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Penguins will soon be spotted on the streets of Christchurch – in the peak of summer.

The birds, in sculpture form, will be part of the Pop Up Penguin art trail from November 29 to January 31.

As part of the Wild in Art project, children at 65 schools across Christchurch were given a little penguin sculpture to decorate.

Their artwork will be on display across the city alongside 50 large penguin sculptures, sponsored by individual companies and decorated by artists from around New Zealand.

One such penguin artist is Lisa Rudman.

Her design was inspired by poet and writer Selina Tusitala Marsh’s children’s book Mophead.

“I was nervous but excited about the challenge and opportunity to get someone else’s vision of the book and put it on a penguin in a story format. It was a really creative thing to do and I really enjoyed the organic process of doing that,” Rudman said.

Tusitala Marsh met the penguin recently.

“I screamed in delight when I saw Mophead in three-dimensional form. Lisa has done a stunning job.”

Rudman hoped people would be inspired to read the book.

“The story says that your difference makes a difference. I’d like people to see that.”

Mophead tells Tusitala Marsh’s childhood story of how she struggled with confidence as a child, but realised what made her stand out from others were good things she should explore and pursue.

Claire Cowles, organiser of the Wild in Art Pop up Penguins, said it was a theme of the entire penguin trail.

Mophead tells us, if you think you’re good at something give it a go. There are many established artists featured on the trail but there are also emerging artists who haven’t had a chance for a gallery show. We’re providing a platform for them to be seen by a wide audience.”

Mophead is the only book to be painted on a penguin for the project.

Cowles also hoped the penguin trail would give people a good excuse to get outside, especially after the turbulent year.

After being displayed for 10 weeks, the larger penguins will be auctioned off to raise money for Cholmondeley Children's Centre.

The Mophead penguin will be placed outside Tūranga Library as part of the trail.