On Wednesday, 12 October, staff at the Hillsbrook Office gathered to unveil two new artworks by Darryl Leigh Thompson, an artist born in Maraenui, Napier.
Darryl’s story from hip hop to Picasso:
Inspired by a Life Magazine article about rap and breakdancing at 16, and after moving to Wellington, Darryl established himself as a graffiti artist known as SLICK. It was whilst Darryl was in the capital that he co-founded Upper Hutt Posse (UHP), the progenitor of hip hop music in Aotearoa formed in 1985, initially as a four-piece reggae band. The opening lyrics of the band’s iconic debut ‘E Tū’, “Karanga, rangatahi, whakarongo! Whakarongo!, urges young people to “Listen up”, “Stand up!” and “Be Proud!” Darryl went on to become DLT, a New Zealand DJ, music producer, composer, and in more recent years an artist.
This artwork depicts the chaotic sibling relationship between Darryl and his brother, George Nuku, when they were growing up. With very different interests, they struggled to find common ground but today they are joined in their interests as both are recognised artists. The artwork shows how the older sibling instructs the younger, and how the younger sibling tests the older, and demonstrates a cyclical and mutually beneficial family relationship.
This artwork is about our rangatahi in the modern world. It references self portraits, or ‘selfies’, that the youth take on their phone cameras. This artwork was based on the artist’s mokopuna and how they are always on their phones and using technology all the time.