Talking Tape Art at the Museum

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Erica Duthie and Struan Ashby

A fantastic new art exhibition created by artists, Erica Duthie and Struan Ashby, has just opened at the Museum. It comprises a large taped mural made by the Wellington based duo (also known as Tape Art NZ), and two other murals which they facilitated with students from local Auckland schools. 

The mural themes evolved from discussions about identity, exploration, and immigration. The artists were also interested in how knowledge and stories are passed on down through generations. In their central mural, a grandfather – modelled on an actual Museum volunteer – talks to his granddaughter. His shed is like a mini-museum – each object with its own story. Projected animated sequences and original music composed by Christine White, create a sense of place and hint at the passage of time. The artists taped directly onto the gallery wall and used lot of masking tape – approximately 15 rolls of tape (750 metres).


Left: Once Upon an Ocean by Tape Art NZ. Right: Museum volunteer, Roger Hames


Students from Western Springs College

For their mural Belonging, the Year 13 students each worked on a separate element that was later arranged onsite in the gallery. Erica Duthie emphasized the importance of working with life-size figures, “the scale helps establish an immediate connection between the artist and model and also between the mural figures and members of the public”. 


Star Jump, a mural made by students from Papatoetoe Intermediate School.

Papatoetoe students worked collaboratively to develop a story and composition. Their theme was not about arriving in New Zealand, but leaving – and leaving not just the country, but the planet! They gave thought to the items they would take on a journey into outer space. 


Before beginning work on the mural, participants experimented with textures and different ways of applying tape to develop their own unique style. Making the mural took place over three sessions and the process was documented by Reggie Foxx. The finished murals were then taken in to the museum.


In addition to seeing three large murals in the gallery, there is also an area where visitors can have a go at drawing their own flags and portraits with tape. Plenty of accomplished works of art have been added to the display already!