E. Mervyn Taylor mural search & recovery project
June 2015 - July 2017
The E. Mervyn Taylor mural search & recovery project was a special project to mark the College of Creative Arts’ 130th anniversary.
E. Mervyn Taylor (1906-64) was an artist and designer whose works made a significant contribution to the emergence of a distinctive New Zealand language of art and design. An alumni of the College of Creative Arts, Taylor’s works are much loved and celebrated by many New Zealanders. He is primarily known for his wood cuts, engravings and illustrations - particularly for the New Zealand School Journal.
Lesser known is the fact that Taylor completed approximately fourteen murals and building decorations towards the end of his career, in both public and publically-accessible commercial sites. There is varied information on the current status of these works: some are known to be intact, some have been boarded over, some are in need of restoration work, and the fate of others is simply unknown.
In honour of Taylor’s contribution to New Zealand art and design, this project researched, catalogued and documented the status of each of Taylor's major murals and building decorations pursuing, where possible, the reinstatement and ongoing protection of neglected works.
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. This project highlights the need for better protection and promotion of New Zealand's public art heritage at a time when national identity is of particular public interest.
Book: Wanted: The search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn Taylor
A book resulting from this project has been published by Massey Press. Find out more here.