Artwork Name: Taniwha Teeth and Flax Shoots
Artist Name: Jeremy Shirley
Location: 1152 Pukuatua Street
Medium: Painted mural
Artist Jeremy Shirley aimed to soften the hard lines of urban centres with this mural which features curved lines that undulate along the 20 metre wall.
Motifs inspired by Māori designs such as niho taniwha (taniwha teeth) and rito rito (flax shoots) acknowledge the strong Māori culture prevalent in Rotorua. The red line that flows through the work represents the geothermal activity, while the grey that extends from it is geothermal steam, and the brown and green are the earth and foliage that surround us.
Urban centres can often feel boxed in and full of hard lines, so artist Jeremy Shirley hoped to remedy that in his own way with this mural Taniwha Teeth and Flax Shoots.
20m curved lines undulate along the wall showcasing motifs inspired by Māori designs such as niho taniwha (taniwha teeth) and rito rito (flax shoots) to acknowledge the strong Māori culture prevalent in Rotorua.
Shirley has said that he has always been impressed by the amazing murals throughout the city that show talented displays of realism, but wanted to create something more graphic, abstract, and modern – with bold colours.
Credit: Jeremy Shirley, Taniwha Teeth and Flax Shoots, 2016. Commissioned by Rotorua Lakes Council.
About the artist: Jeremy Shirley is a Hamilton-based artist, and one of the most prolific muralists across the Waikato.
A graduate of illustration and graphics from Wintec, Shirley spent time working as an art tutor for prison inmates at the Department of Corrections before leading the exhibitions team at Waikato Museum. He now practices art full time and in 2022, painted the Egyptian Garden at the Hamilton Gardens.