YARRAM’S brilliantly coloured water tower mural will be on show in Queensland in March after being selected as a finalist in the Best Mega Mural category of the 2023 Australian Street Art Awards.
Based on designs contributed by Gunaikurnai elder Sandra Patten and local artist Wayne Tindall, the water tower mural was painted during the first half of 2023 by Yarram’s adopted and much-respected large-scale artist Heesco Khosnaran.
The water tower mural is the 25th and is also the largest artwork Heesco has created on a variety of surfaces and structures in Yarram, including many external and some internal walls of public buildings and business premises.
The members of the local community are so proud of their impressive gallery of murals that Yarram is now also known as “Heesco Town”!
The Australian Street Art Awards were established in 2018 to recognise destinations that are using outdoor art to attract visitors, boost their economy and engage their community.
The Yarram water tower is one of eight Victorian entries submitted among the highest number of national entries received to date for the Australian Street Art Awards, which was more than any of the other individual states and territories.
Awards Director Liz Rivers said, “the Australian Street Art Awards provide a platform where trailblazing destinations – cities, regional towns and precincts – can be recognised for their contribution to both the world of street art and art tourism.”
The Best Mega Mural category is for “original, permanent or projected artwork of more than 300 square metres that has been specifically created for the site and is publicly visible”.
Liz said candidates for Best Mega Mural include “painted and projected murals on walls, buildings, bridges, infrastructure, silos, water tanks, and towers” and that the artwork must have been promoted or used in promotions between November 1, 2022, and November 1, 2023.
There are 12 different categories in the Australian Street Art Awards, including an entirely new one, Best Community Art, for any form of permanent artwork that was worked on by members of the wider community not typically engaged in public art.
The national Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in all categories plus each state champion will be announced at a gala dinner celebration on Friday March 8, 2024, at the conclusion of the Art of Attraction Tourism Summit on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Yarram’s water tower is located in Nightingale Street at the north-western end of town.
The lower part of the mural is entitled Sitting on Country and it features the shields of the five Gunakurnai clans; the Brataualung, Brayakaulung, Brabralung, Tatungalung and Krauatungalung people.
The top section highlights a number of South Gippsland icons such as the Agnes Falls, the Long Jetty at Port Welshpool, natural bushland and verdant farming land, as well as native wildlife; a King parrot, a koala, a breaching whale and a pelican.
The Victorian finalists in the 2023 Australian Street Art Awards, in alphabetical order of the entrant name, are:
- Frankston’s Street Art Festival – Big Picture Fest by Frankston City Council, with many artists participating.
- Frankston’s Street Art Walking Tours by Frankston City Council, also with many artists.
- Graincorp Walpeup Silo Art for Mildura Regional Development by Julian Clavijo and Carmilo Delgado.
- Mali Heart Street Art in Buloke Shire, with numerous artists.
- Ned Kelly Siege at Glenrowan for Kate’s Cottage and the Ned Kelly Museum Glenrowan, by Andrew Bourke and Bryan Itch.
- Temple of Boom by Just Another Agency and artists at the National Gallery Victoria in Melbourne.
- Urban Canvas Mural Festival by Urban Canvas, across six south-eastern Melbourne municipalities, with many artists participating.
- Yarram Water Tower for the Friends of Heesco Town by Heesco Khosnaran.
“Being shortlisted in the Awards further cements Victoria’s reputation as a wonderful place to tour for everyone who loves to discover visually stunning experiences,” Ms Rivers said.
“All finalists will also have the chance of being named as the ‘Best Street Art Experience’ in their state for the first time in these 2023 Awards”.