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Student and artist collaborations splash two Victorian communities with colour

17 Mar 2022

After much anticipation, South Gippsland is now home to two new public art projects designed and curated by Collingwood-based studio, The Social Crew.

The first was painted in the township of Korumburra, which artists David “Ghostpatrol” Booth and Bonsai painted through the first week of summer on the side of The Borough Dept Store. The mural’s bright pops of colour showcase the local youths' perspective of what represents the town. 

Ghostpatrol and The Social Crew connected with local Year 9 students from Korumburra Secondary School by hosting educational sessions that provided the students with an opportunity to learn more about the mural design process and help the artists develop their concept on what represents the town.

“Students were given the chance to integrate their community spirit and voice with the large contemporary world of public art to build an artwork that they would admire every day for years to come,” says Rihannen Johns, a Year 9 teacher at Korumburra Secondary School.

Ghostpatrol and Bonsai incorporated the students’ ideas, which lead to a mural design with recognisable elements that represent the community and the nature that surrounds the Korumburra. Leaving sections of the original wall exposed to show off the red brick, onlookers are invited to interpret the dream-like visuals in a wide spectrum of Resene paint colours.

In February, the entire 36m length of Toora Primary School gymnasium was also treated to a colourful reimagining of the local and historical cattle muster to Snake Island while also showcasing how summers are spent in the region. Internationally-renowned artist Kaff-eine, with the assistance of local Gippsland artist Melanie Caple, spent a week not only transforming the facility but engaging with the school students and community members, leaving everyone's hearts feeling full.

“One of the most joyful parts of my job is to work with communities on something that is relevant to the community. To be offered to paint something that's full of joy, colour and movement on a great big canvas in a town that really supports visual arts means an awful lot to me,” says Kaff-eine.

On the façade of the gym, Toora Primary School students and community members were invited to join in the building’s reinvigoration. Featuring her signature style of characters, Kaff-eine incorporated local animals to represent an imagining of the Gippsland Black Panther and the first Gunaikurnai, Borun the Pelican and Tuk the Musk Duck – which helpers were allowed to fill in with a ‘colour by numbers’ approach.

From prep to 60+, nearly 100 budding artists contributed to the wall. Following its successful completion, principal Luke Haustorfer and the Toora Primary School hosted a community BBQ to show appreciation for the rich cultural activity that’s reinvigorated their backyard.

The paint colours used to create the murals included Resene Ballerina, Resene Scrumptious, Resene Shooting Star, Resene Hi Jinx, Resene Ferris Wheel, Resene Get Reddy, Resene Spray, Resene Malibu, Resene Sea World, Resene Alamo, Resene Sour Dough, Resene Leather, Resene White, Resene Black, Resene Solid Gold metallic, Resene Silver Aluminium metallic and Resene Yeehaa metallic.

The Social Crew has already assembled where their project will venture next. Their plan is to continue developing murals in collaboration with the next generation to organically form a public art trail within the townships of the South Gippsland Highway.

imagesNicola Reed Photography

Published: 17 Mar 2022