On the walls

September 3

Have you seen these works of art? Take the 1964 street art challenge.

HUMANS HAVE BEEN WRITING ON WALLS FOR A LONG TIME. SOME OF THE DRAWINGS AT THE CUEVA DE LAS MANOS IN ARGENTINA, FAMOUS FOR ITS STENCILLED HUMAN HANDS, DATE TO MORE THAN 9000 YEARS AGO.

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The Romans were dead keen on graffiti, marking up their thoroughfares with love poems, political slogans and messages of support for their favourite gladiators. And Hadrian’s Wall hosts an 1800-year-old scribbled penis. Of course it does.

Since then, street art has been framed as everything from vandalism to high art, and provoked robust discussion around the ownership of shared spaces. This has mostly been an urban question, but public art can be rural too. With this in mind, we had a sniff around Te Waipounamu to see what we could find in the countryside, and maybe lay to rest the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s claim that “pictures deface walls oftener than they decorate them.”

Do you know where we found these? Take the 1964: mountain culture / aotearoa street art challenge! Fill in the location under each image, check your answers on page 96, and send your total to [email protected] Top ten scores go into a draw to win a dapper 1964 cap.*

*No, you don’t need to supply proof, it’s an honour system. Because we still have faith in humanity, mostly.


This article is even better in print.


1964: mountain culture / aotearoa is a reader-supported magazine that explores Aotearoa New Zealand’s remote places and the people who seek them out. Working with more than thirty artists, photographers, writers, woodworkers and welders, we advocate for and support Aotearoa’s creatives.

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