Wonder walls

Main St mural
Peta Roebuck mural. Photo: Rachel Simmonds.

The two murals are the product of a collaboration between the City of Stirling and community group Main Street Cooperation, completed at the end of August.

The Cooperation was formed as part of the Town Team Movement and is driven by residents, businesses and landowners.

Peta Roebuck is one of the artists behind the new artworks, which featured in her exhibition ‘What we didn’t know we’d miss during the global pandemic.’

Her mural was chosen by Main Street Cooperation urban design committee member Sarah Bennet to celebrate the rich Italian heritage of Osborne Park and Tuart Hill.

Ms Roebuck says public art that encapsulates a community’s culture and heritage is powerful.

“Connection to place is really important, especially public spaces that everybody can interact with. You know there’s no limit to age, class, gender, race whatever.

“Everyone’s interacting with the same spaces, so it’s nice to have a shared story,” she says.

Peta Roebuck. Audio: Rachel Simmonds. Photo: Supplied.

Urban designer Peter Ciemitis agrees.

He says it is critical to incorporate community art with cultural meaning into urban design.

He says there’s often a sense that what comes next has simply disregarded what’s gone before.

“But one of the things that public art can do in telling stories is to even further deepen that connection with the past narratives of places.

“Public art actually plays a very substantial role in helping to shape and build identity in our communities.”

Another mural recently completed by artist Barry Emerald features vibrant retro florals designed to echo the wallpapers and upholstery of the 60s and 70s.

According to Mr Ciemitis, in addition to building cultural identity, public art initiatives like the recent project in Main Street can increase the sense of global liveability.

Perth was ranked number six in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability index this year.

Mr Ciemitis says something most people don’t know is that one of the key factors letting Perth down in their ranking was culture.

“It just shows we’ve kind of only got one job left to do and that’s to enhance our cultural frameworks.”

Had we scored better in a culture, it would likely have been enough to push the city to the number one ranking globally, he says.

Ms Bennet says Main Street has a rich history which the Cooperation aims to bring to life.

Mural by Barry Emerald. Photo: Rachel Simmonds.

“I think all of us are just interested in making Main Street a better place to be, a good place to do business, a good place to live, a good place to recreate. We just want to bring more life to the area I suppose.”

She says the Cooperation’s goal is to focus on injecting liveliness and history into the area consistently.

“I think even the most successful town centres like Leederville and Beaufort street, everyone’s on a mission to make them more appealing always, you can’t sort of fall behind, and I think that’s where that kind of comes from, just to bring it to life constantly and consistently rather than thinking of it as a box that you check and you don’t have to touch again.”

Ms Roebuck says as well as celebrating Main Street’s heritage, she hopes her mural engenders a sense of playfulness and imagination in everyone who sees it.

Categories: Arts, Community

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