Eurobodalla’s resilience and renewal in the wake of the tragic bushfires will be celebrated in permanent public art as part of this year’s River of Art Festival thanks to a $25,000 grant from Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Over the festival’s 9 days from 18 to 27 September, artists in five separate locations in Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma, will be painting large scale street art murals.
A collaborative project with the towns’ chambers of commerce as well as the Oyster Festival, each of the murals will reflect this year’s festival theme, resilience and renewal.
“This mural art event, which we’re calling REVIVE, will be an enduring symbol of the strength and vitality of our communities in recovering from the impact of the summer bushfires,” explained festival co-chair, Di Jay.
The funding comes courtesy of the Eurobodalla Disaster Relief Fund, established by the council in January 2020 to support the community’s recovery from the Black Summer bushfires. The murals - two in Batemans Bay, one in Moruya and two more in Narooma – will transform publicly accessible walls.
Working with River of Art on REVIVE as the lead artist, curator and project manager is Tim (Phibs) de Hann who has had a long connection to Narooma through his saw milling family, the Mitchells. Tim has been a prominent figure in the Australian street art scene for 30 years and his work can be found throughout Australia and internationally.
“Mural artists will be invited to create site specific artwork adding to the existing public artwork throughout the Eurobodalla region,” Tim said.
Renowned local indigenous artist, Cheryl Davison, whose work can be found in the National Museum and Art Gallery of NSW, has already been working on the artistic design for one of the murals which will tell the story of Wagonga Inlet as an important source of food for local aboriginal people, in particular, oysters. She and Tim have worked together before, creating the Narooma swimming pool mural which depicts Gulaga.
“All the murals will be integrated into Eurobodalla’s ‘Art Trail’ which forms part of the festival’s annual program. And this year, the community will be invited to watch, comment and engage with these artworks as they are created,” Di explained.
“A really exciting part of REVIVE will be watching the way the art emerges from the artist’s brush over the course of the festival. We’ll be filming the work as it progresses so people who can’t visit the sites will be able to watch the whole process on our website. We’ll also be doing updates on Facebook and Instagram,” she added.
“Not only is this a fantastic permanent addition to our region’s artistic life, it’s outdoors and COVID safe. Unfortunately, we’ve had to slim down our festival this year because of COVID but REVIVE is a fabulous initiative despite the restrictions.”
Despite the COVID restrictions, this year’s festival will still feature the River of Art Prize, Open Studios, workshops and exhibitions in addition to the new REVIVE event. The program, which will be finalised later this month, and other information can be found on www.riverofart.com.au .