New 30m mural for Batemans Bay gateway

As visitors enter the Shire they will now be greeted with region signs that say Wallawani, Welcome. Adding to that will be the stunning 30 metre artwork of internationally recognised artist Matt Adnate. The Wallawani welcome signs that will soon greet visitors to the region reflect a new Eurobodalla that more openly, pays respect to the fact that the region sits on Yuin land. Major events are now opened with a Welcome to Country and a Smoke ceremony. The foyers to Council offices and our local hospitals have local indigenous art works to welcome visitors and our streetscapes are changing as we begin to recognise the rich heritage and history of the Yuin peoples, to the point of Council even recently endorsing the formal dual naming of Montague Island and Mt Dromedary as Barunguba and Gulaga. Adding to that historical recognition is the movement to embrace the rich aboriginal culture that plays out in the day to day of our region via the installation of more information plaques celebrating the Yuin people. Another inclusive mechanism is through art. A recent exhibition, Ngaranggal Muruda (Women’s Footprints), held at the Bas Exhibition Centre, Moruya presented artworks by female Aboriginal artists from across Australia. The mixed media exhibition celebrates the strength and diversity of Aboriginal expression and culture from a female perspective – at both a local and national level, and included prominent Eurobodalla artist, Cheryl Davison. Once again taking the lead in celebrating and bringing art to the Eurobodalla community the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has now commissioned a thirty metre long mural that will welcome visitors arriving in Batemans Bay from the north as they cross the new bridge. It will serve as a Gateway piece. The artwork adds further to vision that the Batemans Bay Chamber has set in motion of bringing accessible art to the wider community, every day of the year. Their very successful Sculpture for Clyde event has become one of the leading annual events of the region. Not only does it introduce stunning quality sculpture to an ever increasing audience, generously hosted at Willinga Park, but it also provides legacy pieces that are then permanently installed to be enjoyed year around as their Clyde River Sculpture Walk grows. The vision for the annual event and legacy came from the Batemans Bay Chamber President, David Maclachlan, who wanted to put in place a quality event that would draw visitors to the region during the quieter months to help stimulate an otherwise quiet economy. The result has been astounding.

Above: Past Chamber president David Maclachlan justifiably smiling at the win of best Chamber in the shire for the vision shown in creating the Sculpture For Clyde event that has become a key event for the region. Now, taking the baton from David Maclachlan, in regards to invigorating the Batemans Bay CBD area the current President of the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Mat Hatcher, has stepped it up a few more notches to bring a fresh and positive vibrancy to the town. Along with bringing music to the promenade foreshore that has drawn families and diners back to the CBD the Chamber have created a new website and developed a strong social media presence that showcases the region to a wide and diverse audience. The Visit Batemans Bay website was driven in part by Eurobodalla Council's decision to permanently close its very popular Batemans Bay Visitor Centre that, according to reports, was costing too much to run and no longer performed well compared to online promotions.

Above: This week sees a new addition to the Bay, a thirty metre long mural depicting three indigenous faces painted by the highly respected Matt Adnate. David Maclachlan told The Beagle "It all started in November 2020 when the NSW Governor opened two sculptures for inclusion to the Batemans Bay Sculpture Walk. "Aunty Loretta Parsley, a Walbunga custodian and local artist, delivered the Welcome to Country and spoke passionately about the importance the sculptures for local self-perception and tourism. Aunty Loretta then spoke about her dream of local indigenous public art telling their living story. The Governor of NSW endorsed the significance of public art and local indigenous public art." David responded at the time by saying that he would “make it happen” which he then did within the Batemans Bay Tourism and Business Chamber promoting the concept of “celebrating generations of local indigenous leadership”, which was then further developed with Vikki Parsley and local elders. A local koori process was then embarked on to decide and accept the portraits. For the minute the names of those in the mural will remain a secret so that the community can enjoy the progress of the work and the anticipation. Matt Adnate is an internationally recognised artist that realises his portraits in spray paint, moving past his roots in Street Art, to use the medium to carry his realist style into the fine art realm.

Matt paints large scale murals around Australia and the world, creating statements of reclaiming the land that was always theirs, endeavoring to capture the stories and emotions of each subject he paints, encouraging the audience to feel through their own experience. Matt's work on the wall at Woolworths in Batemans Bay, commissioned by the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism along with grants secured by the team. There is no Council money in this project. David Maclachlan and the Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber would like to thank the Batemans Bay Village Centre and Plaza, Geoff Fielding, Vikki Parsley and Raymonds at Malua Bay for their permissions to accommodate the mural along with their encouragement and support. You can see some of the incredible art works of Matt Adnate HERE

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