Ben Hana, a well-known street artist from Wellington in New Zealand, has died at the age of 54. He passed away in hospital after suffering from a range of conditions related to heavy alcohol use and malnutrition, with the latter being reported by some sources as the final cause of death.
Sitting on the pavement outside shops, Hana was a controversial figure in Wellington. Popular around the world, he was seen by some as a negative presence. He claimed to be a devotee of the Maori sun god Tama-nui-te-ra, and would occasionally take off all his clothes in the street, something that caused controversy from time to time.
Hana’s work attracted the attention of online fans as well as academics, who were interested in his position in New Zealand culture. This article, titled The man behind the blanket, offers a closer look at Hana’s life, including the experiences in the 80s and 90s that led to him taking up residence on the city’s streets.