Raumati Village unity reflected in new public artwork
Kotahitanga (unity, togetherness) is the theme of a new public artwork that was formally received and blessed in Raumati Village today.
Kāpiti Artist Theo Arraj has created a mural commissioned by the Raumati Village Business Association with a grant from Kāpiti Coast District Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund for Arts. Grants from this fund were allocated to raise community resilience after lockdowns through art projects that encouraged local participation in the arts and increased the range and diversity of arts projects in the community.
Mr Arraj said the concept of kotahitanga particularly resonated with the Raumati Village community as they navigated through the events of the past few years.
“There is so much mana in the word ‘kotahitanga’, even just saying it aloud radiates a particular energy,” Mr Arraj says. “Oneness, togetherness, unity is so important for us as a community, as a nation, as a species in order to co-create a positive future.
“For this mural I’ve taken the word ‘kotahitanga’ and used that as a blueprint to give the mural pattern and flow. ‘Raumati’ also translates as ‘summer’ so I had to give the mural some summer vibes with the colours. And I try to create something that fits and complements the surrounding environment. I consider the surround architecture, colours, and natural elements.
“A lot of the way the colour hits the wall was based on feeling, expression and movement within the moment, trying to connect with the wall and the environment around it,” he says.
Raumati Village Business Association chair Bede Laracy said local businesses had been looking for something to liven up the local centre.
“The theme of kotahitanga, or unity, is at the core of our business association and community, and our first thought of someone who could convey this was Theo, because of other work he’s done around the district especially in Ōtaki.
“We liked the idea of incorporating the natural elements connecting the land and sea because of where we sit between the hills and the beach.”
Mr Arraj says he’d love to see Kāpiti artists be given free rein to really push the boundaries and peoples’ comfort zones with public art. “I hope I’ve somewhat paved the way for that.”