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Ex-soldier's tribute brightens Chorus cabinet

Wednesday, August 30, 2023   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: arts, Community

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 28th August 2023

A colourful tribute to New Zealand and Australian soldiers is catching the eye of people travelling on Pages Road in Wainoni.

Former solider Chris Solly has been busy painting his ANZAC tribute on the Chorus cabinet near the Christchurch Memorial RSA social housing.

Chris’ design features a scene from the Battle of The Somme, and was chosen by the Christchurch City Council’s graffiti team through the Chorus cabinet art initiative.

The project sees local artists commissioned to paint their designs on Chorus telecommunications cabinets.

Graffiti Projects Coordinator Mel Hillier, says the Council had 54 submissions for the cabinet project this year - the highest number ever received. Ten winning designs were selected from the 54 submissions.

“Each one has its own unique story and placement of painting has been thought about to showcase the design. We have placed each design on a cabinet location that will best show off the design’s uniqueness,” she says.

Ms Hillier says nine of the Chorus cabinets are in areas identified as highly targeted for tagging and graffiti.

Chris says he was thrilled to have his submission accepted for the programme.

“My design commemorates New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in all wars, conflict, and peace-keeping operations and the contributions and suffering of all those who have served. As an ex-serviceman, this work has deep meaning for me.”

Chris is a former member of the 2nd/1st Battalion. He has served on active deployments overseas, including working with the United Nations in Bosnia in the 1990s.

He has included The Ode of Remembrance on the cabinet, in both English and Te Reo Māori. The cabinet’s location near the Christchurch Memorial RSA social housing was the perfect location for his design, he said.

Chorus’ cabinet art initiative began in 2010 with a test pilot in Auckland to try to reduce the amount of vandalism to telecommunications cabinets. It was extended throughout the country and an average of 170 murals are now completed each year.

The programme helps promote a sense of community belonging, identity and pride while also helping to discourage anti-social behaviour.