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Otautahi teenager unveils mural at mental health outpatient unit

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A mural showing a colourful, abstract journey of growth and recovery is being unveiled at Ōtautahi’s child and youth mental health outpatient unit.

The mural, titled The Pōhutukawa Pathway and designed by local teenage artist Ella Ward, is being revealed at a ceremony today (Friday 1 July) by Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman, and mental health advocate and Westpac ambassador Sir John Kirwan.

The mural is installed at the child and youth mental health outpatient facility at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere.

19-year-old Ella was commissioned to complete the mural after winning the public vote for the Together Greater Mural Project, which she was inspired to enter after seeing the facilities first-hand.

"I am passionate about mental health and youth, and having seen the outpatient facilities where our young people are treated I knew just how much they needed uplifting. They are dark and unwelcoming, but I’m hoping my design and injection of colour will go some way towards improving that and making our young people feel valued and supported through their mental health journey," says Ella.

Christchurch desperately needs a modern outpatient facility for child and youth mental health outpatients to replace the outdated facilities at The Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton. Māia Health Foundation is raising $6 million towards a modern, fit-for-purpose facility, which is due to open late next year. Ella’s mural will be relocated here once the facility is complete.

In the meantime, the team at Westpac’s Christchurch office created the Together Greater Mural Project to add vibrancy to the facilities where our tamariki and rangatahi are currently treated.

The Together Greater Mural Project is a collaboration between Westpac NZ, youth artist programme The Creators’ Room, and Māia Health Foundation. Young artists were asked to submit designs for a mural, with the winner decided via a public vote. More than 2,600 votes were received for the competition.

Westpac NZ Ambassador and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan came to Christchurch specifically to unveil the mural.

"Our rangatahi are our future. It’s really important we look after their wellbeing and support them to reach their full potential," he says.

"This project has brought out the best in Ōtautahi youth, and I’m blown away by the creativity of their designs. I congratulate Ella and everyone who took the time to showcase their amazing talent."

Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says the Together Greater Mural Project has uncovered a real and raw talent, with Ella’s vibrancy and vision set to breathe life and energy into our current child and youth mental health treatment spaces.

"Ella is an incredible talent and the story she tells through her artwork shows real insight into the mental health journey so many of our young people are facing. It will add vibrancy and life to current facilities and lift the spirits of our dedicated mental health workforce and the children and young people they treat as we work to bring our new state-of-the-art facility to life," says Michael.

Ella’s mural features two different pathways that lead to an abstract version of the sun.

"The journey to mental wellness isn’t one-dimensional. Through this artwork I’ve tried to visually show that while there may be ups and downs during the journey to wellness, we can reach sunshine at the end.

"My design shows the concept of growth depicted through leaves, while I’ve included elements of New Zealand nature as nature is calming and it relates to our unique culture and identity," says Ella.

For winning the Together Greater Mural Project Ella won a $2,500 grant from Westpac, five hours mentorship with an established mural artist, and ten hours of education and development to further support her artistic career development.

Ella says the mentorship with mural artist Kyla Kuzniarski has been invaluable, especially as this is the first time she has showcased her work on a large scale.

"Prior to this my largest artwork was A3, so to go from that to a 3.6 by 2.4 metre mural was a little overwhelming, but Kyla has shown me tools and techniques to bring my design to life. The process has taught me so much and has given me the confidence to branch out more with my art in the future.

"Painting this mural every day for three weeks has been such an incredible experience and seeing it installed is really special. I hope that for those who use this facility, whether they are staff, patients or someone else, that they can get enjoyment from its colour, patterns and its story of growth," says Ella.

Westpac NZ General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth Ian Hankins thanked Māia for their tireless work supporting local youth.

"This project is a great example of what we can achieve when businesses and local communities work together to improve our overall wellbeing," he says.

"The new facilities will provide a lifeline for young people when they need it, and Ella’s amazing mural will be a colourful addition in the years to come."A mural showing a colourful, abstract journey of growth and recovery is being unveiled at Ōtautahi’s child and youth mental health outpatient unit.

The mural, titled The Pōhutukawa Pathway and designed by local teenage artist Ella Ward, is being revealed at a ceremony today (Friday 1 July) by Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman, and mental health advocate and Westpac ambassador Sir John Kirwan.

The mural is installed at the child and youth mental health outpatient facility at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere.

19-year-old Ella was commissioned to complete the mural after winning the public vote for the Together Greater Mural Project, which she was inspired to enter after seeing the facilities first-hand.

"I am passionate about mental health and youth, and having seen the outpatient facilities where our young people are treated I knew just how much they needed uplifting. They are dark and unwelcoming, but I’m hoping my design and injection of colour will go some way towards improving that and making our young people feel valued and supported through their mental health journey," says Ella.

Christchurch desperately needs a modern outpatient facility for child and youth mental health outpatients to replace the outdated facilities at The Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton. Māia Health Foundation is raising $6 million towards a modern, fit-for-purpose facility, which is due to open late next year. Ella’s mural will be relocated here once the facility is complete.

In the meantime, the team at Westpac’s Christchurch office created the Together Greater Mural Project to add vibrancy to the facilities where our tamariki and rangatahi are currently treated.

The Together Greater Mural Project is a collaboration between Westpac NZ, youth artist programme The Creators’ Room, and Māia Health Foundation. Young artists were asked to submit designs for a mural, with the winner decided via a public vote. More than 2,600 votes were received for the competition.

Westpac NZ Ambassador and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan came to Christchurch specifically to unveil the mural.

"Our rangatahi are our future. It’s really important we look after their wellbeing and support them to reach their full potential," he says.

"This project has brought out the best in Ōtautahi youth, and I’m blown away by the creativity of their designs. I congratulate Ella and everyone who took the time to showcase their amazing talent." Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says the Together Greater Mural Project has uncovered a real and raw talent, with Ella’s vibrancy and vision set to breathe life and energy into our current child and youth mental health treatment spaces.

"Ella is an incredible talent and the story she tells through her artwork shows real insight into the mental health journey so many of our young people are facing. It will add vibrancy and life to current facilities and lift the spirits of our dedicated mental health workforce and the children and young people they treat as we work to bring our new state-of-the-art facility to life," says Michael.

Ella’s mural features two different pathways that lead to an abstract version of the sun.

"The journey to mental wellness isn’t one-dimensional. Through this artwork I’ve tried to visually show that while there may be ups and downs during the journey to wellness, we can reach sunshine at the end.

"My design shows the concept of growth depicted through leaves, while I’ve included elements of New Zealand nature as nature is calming and it relates to our unique culture and identity," says Ella.

For winning the Together Greater Mural Project Ella won a $2,500 grant from Westpac, five hours mentorship with an established mural artist, and ten hours of education and development to further support her artistic career development.

Ella says the mentorship with mural artist Kyla Kuzniarski has been invaluable, especially as this is the first time she has showcased her work on a large scale.

"Prior to this my largest artwork was A3, so to go from that to a 3.6 by 2.4 metre mural was a little overwhelming, but Kyla has shown me tools and techniques to bring my design to life. The process has taught me so much and has given me the confidence to branch out more with my art in the future.

"Painting this mural every day for three weeks has been such an incredible experience and seeing it installed is really special. I hope that for those who use this facility, whether they are staff, patients or someone else, that they can get enjoyment from its colour, patterns and its story of growth," says Ella.

Westpac NZ General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth Ian Hankins thanked Māia for their tireless work supporting local youth.

"This project is a great example of what we can achieve when businesses and local communities work together to improve our overall wellbeing," he says.

"The new facilities will provide a lifeline for young people when they need it, and Ella’s amazing mural will be a colourful addition in the years to come."

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