Street art honours culture

Powerful message: Artists Jack Bromell, Ian Mutch and Sandra Hill put the finishing touches on the Wadandi Boodjarra mural. Photos: Nicky Lefebvre

Powerful message: Artists Jack Bromell, Ian Mutch and Sandra Hill put the finishing touches on the Wadandi Boodjarra mural. Photos: Nicky Lefebvre

The mural features the iconic South West Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, as well as Marri branches.

The mural features the iconic South West Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, as well as Marri branches.

Sandra Hill was taking a break from painting, but couldn't resist the chance to honour her culture by taking part in the mural.

Sandra Hill was taking a break from painting, but couldn't resist the chance to honour her culture by taking part in the mural.

A stunning new mural in the Margaret River Main Street has seen local artists collaborate to deliver a heartfelt dedication to the culture of the South West.

As they completed the final aspects of the impressive Wadandi Boodjarra mural, artists Ian Mutch, Jack Bromell and Sandra Hill said they had enjoyed working together on the project.

"This is the first time I've done anything like this," explained artist and Wadandi elder, Sandra Hill. "These guys have been so patient and welcoming to me, I really appreciate their support and help."

The trio set to work on the wall after Mutch began the design in July with the first of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos.

Mutch said he often paints birds, which were suited to outdoor murals.

"They are uplifting and provide much energy to an artwork, especially in a public outdoor space. Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are native to the South-West and provide a sense of place, belonging and cultural significance," he said.

The extensive mural near the top of the Margaret River Main Street depicts Wadandi home country, local flora, and the iconic birds.

Jack Bromell said he too painted birds and other native fauna and flora often as part of his extensive mural work across the State.

"It's actually really nice to be out here with these guys, I work on my own a lot so this is great to be working on something of this scale with two great artists," he said.

"The Marri tree (Corymbia calophylla) is native to the South West, whose name derives from the local Noongar language.

"Red-Tails can frequently be found perched amongst Marri branches feeding on nuts and flowers, which are an important food source for native bird species. Painting Marri in the mural highlights a sense of place through connection with native wildlife and ancient culture," he said.

Award-winning artist Hill said the message of the mural was strong enough to spark a desire to pick up the paintbrush again after a period of creative hiatus.

"This line symbolises the blood line of family all the way back to the creation story of the Margaret River (place of Wooditch).

"This red blood line runs through our country. The creation of Wooditjup (Margaret River) is an ancient story that has been told by our people long before colonisation and the River is a fully registered and very important Aboriginal site.

"The central brown circle depicts home country, Wadandi Boodjarra (Wadandi home country).

"The patterns in the middle circle are our traditional markings on our shields.

"The red circle symbolises old, ancient blood. The black line circle symbolises our community. The ochre dots on the outside symbolise our family clan groups," she said.

"The Wadandi people have never left this land, they have been here continuously and they work so hard to educate and share the culture of country with the community.

"It is extremely important to record that contribution and to honour what they have done and continue to do."

The Wadandi people have never left this land, they have been here continuously and they work so hard to educate and share the culture of country with the community.

Sandra Hill

Shire Sustainable Economy Officer Saul Cresswell said support for the mural was part of an ongoing effort to create a sense of place and add to the vibrancy of our town centre as well as backing local artists.

"The group considered the nature and shape of the space, with most of the focus on the front half of the wall that is highly visible from the street. The collaboration involves each artist focusing on their specialty.

"I'd like to thank the artists and also Creative Corner for their role in facilitating this piece of art," he said.

Indigenous icons are positioned lower down so that they are 'grounded' and not represented in the sky, and the mural especially focuses on the symbolism of Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos.

The Shire is exploring options at an alternative location on the Main Street for an additional smaller mural.