XOË HALL. Pop Artist, Glitterist, Muralist.
By Nick Davies
Houkamu’s work reflects the influence of her whakapapa (genealogy). A strong integration of Maori and Pacific Island patterns that derive from ta moko and tatau (tattoo) are present in her works. She shows the intricacies of these patterns and the tactile nature of the marks of the uku in contrast with the bold, simple shapes and forms.
Currently, there are limited sites around Wellington where emerging street artists can practise without asking for permission. Inverlochy Place (144 Abel Smith Street) became one of those sites when Rod Baxter, a youth worker with an interest in street art asked permission of his then landlord in 2013 if artists were able to paint on the brick wall on the west side of the street.
Wellington Boys’ and Girls’ Institute (BGI) has been creatively responding to what local youth need since 1882. In recent years, BGI’s developed a programme for emerging young artists called ‘Can Control’. The programme creates groups of young artists aged 12-24 who have an interest in street art. The name ‘Can Control’ refers both to the technique of mastering a spray can and also the fact that young people can control, and choose to channel their talents into constructive community artworks.