E. Mervyn Taylor Mural Unveiling Celebrated

The unveiling of of a replica mural installed in honour of artist E. Mervyn Taylor (1906 -1964) at The Learning Connexion School of Creativity and Art (TLC)  was celebrated in Taita, Lower Hutt on 19 September.
Formerly the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Soil Bureau, Mervyn was commissioned to create a mural to mark the opening of their building in 1962. On display in the foyer entrance, the mural, / welcomed all who arrived.
Depicting the carved stone taumata atua or kumara god placed at the head of the plot and the early morning ceremony performed by the tohunga, dressed in his cloak and turning the first sod with his ko or digging stick. The growing kumara is shown symbolically reaching up to the life-giving sun.
Somewhere in the transition from science to art the mural was ‘lost’.
In 2017 a project initiated by Dr Bronwyn Holloway-Smith led to the discovery that the work wasn’t technically missing, it was merely obscured behind multiple layers of paint. After a lengthy process it was determined that it was not possible to recover the mural and The Learning Connexion with the support of the Taylor Family got behind a project to recreate a full scale replica of the original work.
Installed in the original location and back into the public eye again, it is as Sarah Taylor said ‘a surprisingly good news art story.’
“Taylor was passionate about the value of the creative arts within New Zealand. From his position as a Pākehā artist he actively supported the protection and promotion of Māori culture in an era when dominant colonial influences threatened its decline.” – Dr Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, 2016
Featured image: Courtesy of The Learning Connexion