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Tess Sheerin is an artist hailing from Aotearoa, New Zealand. She is of Māori (Ngāti Raukawa), Dutch, Irish and English descent. Her work combines art and action, educating and inspiring change on issues of pollution awareness and wildlife conservation. 

She was one of the first artists to paint large scale murals post-earthquake in hometown Ōtautahi, Christchurch, New Zealand. Her murals are hand painted in a distinctive black and white style contrasting with expressive bursts of colours. Tess’ work featured in Peter Young’s award winning documentary The Art of Recovery and Tony Robinson’s (AKA Blackadder) television show Time Walks. Surprisingly in 2013, in the Lonely Planet, Christchurch was labelled one of the street art capitals of the world.    


An avid experimentalist, Tess brings a dynamic energy which evolves during the restricted time-frame for her murals. Her creative process incorporates techniques that explore movement by physically paint-bombing buildings, using fire extinguishers, and pouring paint down textured surfaces. During this period of time Tess completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at the University of Canterbury.  


Although murals are a large part of her work, they are not her only interest. Tess’ expertise with drawing is evident when viewing her meticulous wildlife interpretations. Another recurring theme is the use of found objects; broken surfboards, doors and various pieces of rubble are morphed into sculptures, paintings and even a plastic straw protest installation.


Prior to her return to New Zealand, Tess’ recycled surfboard series Sea School, created in Cornwall, England, was exhibited alongside the works of Banksy, Black Le Rat, Swoon, Faile, Shepard Fairey and Herakut in Belgraves Gallery’s annual Urban Art exhibition. From there the series went on to exhibit in a variety of galleries in the United Kingdom, with some picked up by collectors in Europe, America and Canada.  


In 2015, Tess teamed up with a friend with a passion for photography, and together embarked on a three year pollution awareness mural tour in New Zealand, dubbed New Zealand’s Worth Loving. The tour aimed to highlight pressing issues of water pollution and its damaging effects on New Zealand’s wildlife. Auckland’s crayfish mural sparked controversy with some of the local council but a poll on revealed widespread local support from the community.


During the tour Tess inspired action by teaming up with various environmental initiatives and charities; Sustainable Queenstown, Our Seas Our Future, Gap Filler, Avon Ontario Network, Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Sustainable Coastlines. The completion of each mural was celebrated with a clean-up event.


In 2017 they received the Canon Oceania Grants - Inspiring Tomorrow Award. 


Isolation and uncertainty are part of an artist's job description and when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Tess discovered how her own journey could relate to the wider community.

Rejuvenate was created in 2022. Painted in recognition of The Key to Life Charitable Trust. The mural aims to inspire empathy and erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues. These messages are portrayed through the inspiration of Aotearoa’s unique taonga wildlife. "Noah the Moa" is asking for reconnection, growth and gratitude. "Karma Kiwi" requests love and kindness and "Balance Bee" requires balance and nutrition.


Connecting with nature is a proven way to improve our mental health; wellbeing of the environment and our own wellbeing are intertwined. Ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata; When the land is well, we are well.  

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