By Meagan Kearney
Award winning, multi-disciplinary artist Katherine Gailer partnered up with Brimbank City Council’s ‘Creative Brimbank’ initiative to create the stunning mural ‘Flourish: Story of a Diaspora’ in Stark Place, Sunshine.
The mural is a homage to the local Australian African community and recognising their contribution to the Brimbank community. “The focal point of the moral is the brilliant gaze of this strong African Australian woman, embracing her feminine identity and discovering her power”, explains Katherine. “The inclusion of birds and butterflies are a symbol of transformation, migration and the connection to our community and natural environment.”
Katherine Gailer is originally from Bogota, Colombia, she moved to Melbourne to study Fine Arts at RMIT twelve years ago and stayed and is grateful for the cultural space the city affords her. The mural took a week to paint in the Sunshine alleyway, “I am fascinated by street art, especially in response to specific contexts and to engage the community through visual narratives,” says Katherine. “I loved spending time in Sunshine and chatting with people from all over the world, from all walks of life. The friendliness, colour and rawness of the street life reminded me fondly of Latin America.”
Katherine consulted with the western suburbs African women’s group, Kontiki Cultural Women Empowerment, to ensure the mural was culturally appropriate and to gain approval from the local Australian African community. “We are very pleased with the mural, it gives us a sense of identity and ownership and happy it shows our community in a positive light”, commented Project Manager, Francess Sesay .
“The mural has had a really positive response from the community. We are looking to commission more murals and hope it will attract people to Brimbank especially with projects like the Sunshine Station Superhub,” said Michael Shiell, Brimbank City Council’s Visual and Public Art Senior Officer. “Brimbank sees murals like Katherine’s piece as an important part of inclusivity and diversity of art for the community.”
‘Flourish: Story of a Diaspora’ is nominated for The Global Art Awards 2020, the international awards for the Visual Arts. Vote for Katherine Gailer’s mural at www.theglobalartawards.com/vote-entries. Winners announced 21 November.
Photo Meagan Kearney