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Street art draws on climate

Kirsty Porter with some of her Street Art. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

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In the tradition of street protest artists such as Banksy and Keith Haring, central Masterton is being plastered in images to raise awareness of climate change.

‘It’s getting hot in here’ is a series of paintings by Palmerston North-based artist Kirsty Porter. The paintings have been pasted on to buildings across Masterton.

The street art was part of a series of activist art focusing on social change. Called Shifting Ground and funded by the Earle Trust, Porter hoped she could use her talents to help people face their fear of change and address the reality that nature was not working to our time frame.

She hoped her installation of about 20 paintings across town would challenge people’s perceptions.

“I would like people to see this work and think about what they think is normal. In the world that’s coming, we are going to have to cope with broad systemic change. If we can prepare ourselves by simple extensions of what we expect as normality, it will help us out,” she said.

“In my couple of years involved with Extinction Rebellion, the one big barrier I see is people not being able to cope with change.

“As an artist, that’s one place I can work.”

Porter expected the forces of nature were more likely to bring about change than people.

Hand-painted faces on paper were pasted on to public-facing walls.  The faces depicted were hot and bothered, melting, sweating, and generally affected by the weather.

“They are you, they are me, they are our children who will be affected and of the many people around the globe who are already affected by the climate and ecological crisis,” Porter said.

Each face had been painted as a stranger in a fast and colourful style.

“They are humans each with their own histories, families, and beliefs.”

The works, on lightweight paper, were pasted on to public walls in streets and alleyways.  They were almost impossible to remove, the idea being they were enjoyed by everyone until they eventually peeled away under the strain of the weather.

Porter said evidence suggested the best chance to combat the ecological crisis was through broad systemic change, involving complete economic and social restructuring.

The installation was intended to help people focus on understanding alternatives.

A similar display had already been done in Palmerston North. Porter expected to do the same in other centres in the future.

Porter’s street art had been arranged by Harry Watson of the Watson Gallery in Perry St in Masterton. More information and other examples of Porter’s art was available from the gallery.

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