As published in The Border Watch
Written by Sandra Morello.
Photo: Creativity: Mount Gambier artist Sadiki Kamundele paints a mural along the driveway of the Migrant Resource centre on Eleanor Street.
Public artwork captures city diversity with rail corridor installation
Mount Gambier’s rich tapestry of cultures will be captured in a new public art installation along the city’s rail corridor.
The Great Wall of Cultures is unfolding at the rear fence of the Mount Gambier Migrant Resource Centre, which aims to capture the city’s cultural identity in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours.
Paying tribute to the city’s Indigenous, Dutch and Italian communities, the mural also embraces newer cultural groups from the Middle East, Burma and the Congo.
The project – currently under way – is an initiative of the Migrant Resource Centre, which is a critical organisation in helping settle new arrivals in the city.
The $50,000 mural project has come to life thanks to a grant from the Department for Home Affairs.
Talented Mount Gambier artist Sadiki Kamundele – who arrived from the Congo as a refugee in October 2015 – is working with high profile regional artist Jeremy Ievins to deliver the new vibrant public art.
Migrant Resource Centre Mount Gambier manager Anelia Blackie said she was thrilled the project was starting to come to life.
“The idea is to bring different cultures together in a mural who have settled in Mount Gambier and made an impact on making this community better,” Ms Blackie said.
“The mural will be there forever for people to see. I hope people will appreciate it and it will get people talking about the city’s multiculturalism and promote the positive aspects of having a multicultural community.
“We will have panels representing three refugee groups on the fence and we have also included Italian, Dutch and the indigenous communities.”
While it was not practical to capture every culture group in the city, there was an opportunity to expand the fence mural in the future.
She said the creative inspiration for the murals was developed by high school students during a series of workshops held last year.
While the first phase of the project – a mural along the driveway of the centre on Eleanor Street – had almost been completed, Ms Blackie said the railway land mural was now well under way.
“The railway land mural is the second phase of the project.”
The project will feature at Mount Gambier Fringe Festival on Saturday, March 21, at the Cave Gardens.
“Sadiki and Jeremy will be there painting the last panel so people can watch and ask questions,” Ms Blackie said.
She said the art installation would also be displayed as part of the Fringe Festival and Harmony Day celebrations on March 23.
Ms Blackie said she was thrilled Sadiki and Jeremy were creating the mural given they had cooperated on other public art installations in the city.
“Sadiki has painted the mural on a shopfront on Percy Street with Jeremy as well as murals at Mount Gambier North School,” she said.
The former refugee also creates sculptures with wood and limestone and had a successful exhibition at the Riddoch Art Gallery a few years ago.
“He learned mural painting in a refugee camp. He was creative and could paint, but they taught him how to paint murals – not everybody can do these,” Ms Blackie said.
Sadiki works full-time at a sawmill in Mount Gambier and practices his art in his spare time.
Speaking to The Border Watch, Mr Ievins said he was pleased to be part of such a vibrant and culturally significant street art project.
“I am painting the background and Sadiki is doing the faces – we are pleased with how it is going,” Mr Ievins said.
He said he hoped more art would be rolled out in more public areas, including along the rail corridor.
“It would be great to see different artists create work in the rail lands and around town.”
He even mooted the idea of a hosting mural festival in Mount Gambier where artists come to the city to create public artworks.
“It would be lovely to see more public art around the city,” Mr Ievins added.