National | Art

Live graffiti and street art exhibition to hit Lower Hutt

Twenty-one internationally acclaimed street artists will have their work on show as part of The Most Dedicated: An Aotearoa Graffiti Story exhibition in Lower Hutt, Wellington this weekend.

The exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum marks the museum's 50th-anniversary celebrations aiming to make street art accessible and provide an opportunity for the public to learn about its evolution as a contemporary art genre through the lens of New Zealand’s most prolific urban street art crew, TMD.

TMD Crew was founded in 1997 by over 20 graffiti artists, each of whom now has professional art careers in New Zealand, Australia and Germany. Some of the artists include ADICT of Ngāpuhi; EXIST of Tainui; HASER (Kairau Bradley) of Ngāpuhi; LADY DIVA (Janine Williams) of Ngāti Pāoa; Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara, Mark Henare of Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Tainui, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi; PHAT1 (Charles Williams) of Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tuhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Tuwharetoa; and RAMS of Ngāpuhi.

Mural from the Street Art Mentoring Programme mentored by Phat1, Lady Diva and Askew One. Source: Dowse Art Museum

The exhibition will include artworks, audiovisual displays, interactive elements and nostalgic settings from the crew's past, as well as a section dedicated to post-graffiti artwork, museum director and exhibition curator Karl Chitham says.

“This exhibition is extremely significant because it’s the first exhibition for TMD Crew in a public art institution,” Chitham says.

Chitham says the Dowse has had a long-standing commitment to street art urban culture.

“This exhibition and festival offer multiple ways for visitors to learn more and interact with this dynamic strand of Aotearoa’s art history,” says Chitham.

TMD Crew member PHAT1 says, “The transcendent nature of graffiti crosses many social divides… as its members have evolved as people, started families, encountered hardship and success, the bond built through a common interest has brought a powerful sense of cohesion.”

Mural from the Street Art Mentoring Programme mentored by Phat1, Lady Diva and Askew One. Source: Dowse Art Museum

Live grafitti painting

The exhibition will open on Saturday alongside a four-day Street Art Festival where 15 artists from TMD Crew will move out of the gallery space and onto the streets.

The crew members will paint six large-scale murals in Lower Hutt’s CBD giving audiences a chance to interact directly with the artists as they paint.

Across the exhibition, which n runs until August 2, there will also be supporting events such as art workshops, a mural walking tour, and panel discussions.  The TMD: Street Art Festival will be from March 27 to April 1.