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Cambridge Wins Champion Murals

Cambridge, the town of champions, is about to celebrate with a series of murals the beauty of its sporting excellence.

Following from and expanding upon the Cambridge Art Trail, this project aims to emphasise rowing's significance for Cambridge in the build-up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Collaborating with local businesses and high-performance athletes, these murals will honour rowing sport at Lake Karapiro, starting a tradition in which local businesses embrace our rowing heritage through the beauty of art.

The first of these murals is on the Empire Street wall of the Rouge Cafe. Tucked away in a courtyard on 11 Empire Street that often serves as a meeting point for both locals and athletes, the spot also serves the community by serving fresh, local, seasonal food and by working with local suppliers. The team at Rouge, led by Alana and Phil McKay, have a clear vision for the cafe and was the main driving force behind the operations for this project.

Bruce McLachlan is a Hamilton-based artist whose skill and diversity have made him one of the region's finest commission portrait painters. With expertise at fine portraiture on every scale and at every level, his previous works include the Anzac wall for the Huntly RSA, Hamilton's Peace Wall on Norton Road, and numerous custom-ordered fine-art portraits.

Vera Bucsu has been painting murals in the Waikato for years. She graduated from Wintec with honours in illustration and graphic design. Her work is a unique amalgamation of different styles, depending on the demands of the project at hand. Previous work includes murals at Hamilton Wine Company, Domaine Restaurant, Craft Hamilton Bar & Restaurant, and Ember Restaurant.

Emma Dyke is the first athlete to model for these murals. Rio will be Emma's first Olympic Games. She was part of the silver-medal-winning eight that qualified for Rio at the 2015 World Rowing Championships. She is the youngest member of the eight and has had success at the junior and under-23 levels, being part of the under-23 women's four team that won silver in 2014.

'The most challenging part or the project was to choose the athletes, because they're all radiant, ' Bucsu explained. 'Emma has the most amazing red colour to her hair, which made her the perfect choice for Rouge Cafe.'

The project's next murals are slated for the walls of Cambridge Wine Company and Alpino Cucina e Vino on Victoria Street.