A group of young indigenous people have left their mark on a wall of Cafe Grove in O’Neill Lane, Wodonga.
In April, 20 young people aged between 5 and 17 attended a three day workshop at the Albury Wodonga Community College to design and paint a mural.
Wodonga Council engaged local Aboriginal artist Tamara Murray to lead the design for the mural while working with the group of young indigenous people as part of the Stronger Communities Program.
Ms Murray was mentored by Dr Treahna Hamm, an internationally renowned Yarrawonga/Mulwala contemporary Aboriginal artist.
The mighty Murray River and other elements of the twin cities feature proudly on the large mural.
“It’s great to see the mural up and in such a prominent location for locals to admire,” Ms Murray said.
In 2014, Ms Murray worked on the Reconciliation Shield, a sculpture located along the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk in Albury. She has also been a guest artist on The Cube Wodonga piano.
As a young emerging artist, she is passionate about mentoring younger artists.
The work is titled ‘Footprints of Youth’.
“I left the design up to the kids and asked them to think about what it means to live in Albury Wodonga,” Ms Murray said.
“The main element is the Murray River and then there’s symbols like stars that represent family.
“They also painted their hands and pressed them onto the mural to leave their own mark.”
The artists and young people composed the following story to accompany the work.
“The seeds we plant today are going to be here to support our future generations. It is up to us to do the work and take the time to water all the seeds of our future generations to come. By planting and continuing to water our plants it is going to help us so we can leave them with stronger communities for our young leaders to grow and break through barriers and be the light for our future.”
The mural was refined by Ms Murray and Dr Hamm to retain the symbols created by the young people.
During this phase, Ms Murray was mentored to incorporate her own artwork into the work of the young people.
Both artists cited the process as being rewarding and galvanising from a community perspective.
Dr Hamm said the mural served as an artistic landmark in the wider Wodonga community and endeavoured to make a visible history, which had been limited in the past.
“The object of the mural is to unify and strengthen reconciliation for all,” she said.
The project facilitated learning and sharing of skills in a collaborative environment that is often inaccessible to young regional people, especially Aboriginal youth.