Internationally renowned street artist Hayley King aka Flox resurrected native manu (birds) for Hamilton street art festival BOON 2018. Her artworks adorn walls at Taipei Zoo, Britomart and Auckland’s car parking building, and her Frankton piece is in response to Hamilton’s recently opened Concept Garden.
Invited artists transformed 10 Hamilton walls last month and festival co-founder Charlotte Isaac referred to Flox as New Zealand street art elite.
The Kiwi celebrity acknowledged Mother Nature for the “amazing” day as she painted ‘The Rise and Fall of the Titoki’ on a Kent Street siding.
“When I come to these festivals it’s always really important to create something that people aesthetically enjoy as part of the community but also on a deeper level. For the concept to resonate with people as well,” Flox said.
Classic Flox elements include flora and native fauna and her Frankton wall features two female huia, an extinct New Zealand bird, and nine starburst sections signifying the land uses represented in the Hamilton Concept Garden.
The artist acknowledged two whakataukī (Māori proverbs) exhibited in the concept garden which talk about past, present and future and the importance of looking after Mother Earth and her BOON piece addresses those concerns. “It’s a conservation piece,” Flox said.
The red titoki berry colour features prominently throughout Flox’s design. The pigment was used by early Māori to paint their dead and expressed hierarchy. One huia is “ghosted” in titoki-red and symbolises “past failures” and losses.
A “fully fledged” huia in the foreground represents future opportunities and responsibilities to address societal imbalances around ecology, culture and gender.
The manu are backed by a starburst reflecting the nine natural elements of the concept gardens in water, roses, citrus, grass, conifers, tussock, shrubbery tororaro, manuka and oioi grasses.
Flox said that festivals like BOON are about positivity. “The intent is to improve a space, improve a community. To bring together rather than separate. It is an absolute pleasure to be here.”