26 April 2024

Oak Flats Library the latest addition to Shellharbour's list of marvellous murals

| Jen White
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Two people standing in front of a mural on a wall.

Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer and artist Sarah McCloskey in front of Sarah’s latest mural at Oak Flats Library. Photo: Shellharbour City Council.

Artist Sarah McCloskey has put the final touches to her second mural on the walls of Oak Flats Library.

Sarah, a finalist in the prestigious 2023 Archibald Prize for portraiture, painted the original mural on the library’s Fisher Street facade in 2020.

Shellharbour City Council Mayor Chris Homer said the new mural responded to customer feedback about the library’s main street visibility and signage.

“The new mural will enhance the visibility of the library within the Oak Flats town centre and provide artistic signage that will boost community awareness that the library is housed within,” he said.

The mural adds to dozens that can be found on shop walls, laneways and roads around the Shellharbour area.

Cr Homer said the murals aimed to enrich the community’s cultural landscape and support artistic talent.

READ ALSO Shellharbour Marina’s newest artwork offers something for community to talk about

Here are just some of the city’s murals. To find out more, click here to visit council’s website.

Sarah McCloskey
Oak Flats Library, Central Avenue

The mural features the word ‘library’ as a prominent placemaking feature. The crisp straight lines of the lettering are surrounded by fluid and organic shapes and motifs that beautifully tie into the existing artwork on the northern side of the building.

The wattle blooms and leaves, acacia seed motifs and flame tree silhouette will connect the new mural to the existing mural on the north facade. Undulating lines that span the length of the wall are drawn from aerial maps of the shoreline of Lake Illawarra, near Oak Flats.

Mural showing a landscape.

Unceasing Day & Evening Sky by Michael Black in Warilla. Photo: Shellharbour City Council.

Unceasing Day & Evening Sky by Michael Black
Hall Lane, Warilla

These artworks capture a moment within a found Australian landscape. The work carries expressive mark-making and an uplifting bright colour palette placing the viewer into the scene.

Michael Black is a Sydney-based artist who creates large-format murals, digital artwork and prints, using a variety of mixed-media techniques.

Michael produces expressive abstract compositions and forms inspired by discovered Aussie landscapes, encountered people and personal experiences.

Still Life Blues by Alex Sugar
155 Tongarra Road, Albion Park

Still Life Blues is a play between water and land species — in particular, the yellow admiral butterfly perched on the common Sydney octopus. To finish the still life scene the artist added seashells to represent the Shellharbour region.

Alex Sugar is a Melbourne-based realism painter well known for his large-scale murals and studio works depicting native Australian flora and fauna. He has a particular interest in merging this distinctive style with still life and surreal components.

The aim of his mural work is to translate his studio practice to large-scale projects – strengthening connection to art and the natural environment, while aesthetically enhancing urban sites.

Midnight Showdown by David Cragg
Laneway next to Albion Park Rail Medical Centre, Princes Highway

Midnight Showdown is a vibrant mural featuring an abundance of local bird species – an eastern yellow robin, bluefaced honeyeater, pink galah, golden whistler, red browed finch, yellow tail black cockatoo and a fairy wren. These birds, combined with ferns, flannel flowers and banksia blooms, foreground a brilliant rust-red and orange mountain range, reflecting the Illawarra escarpment. Twinkling stars float above this scene, meeting the ascending rainbow trees.

Locking Horns by Ling
161 Tongarra Road, Albion Park

Locking Horns has obvious connotations with the idea of an ongoing struggle. While on a personal level this doesn’t represent a specific moment in time, it’s something that resonates when looking to achieve anything … if it was easy, everyone would be doing it already.

Ling is a Melbourne-based artist. He has been adding colour and vibrancy to his environment since 2000. Known for producing large-scale installations, Ling combines traditional graffiti aesthetics with heavy brushstrokes, textures and a deft touch with aerosols, resulting in bold designs.

Southerly Change by Gus Eagleton
Addy’s restaurant, Addison Street, Shellharbour Village
Gus’s iconic style merges two genders and includes ocean textures and a montage of the foreshore itself. The colour palette has been inspired by the hues of the sunset and represents youthfulness and vitality.

Gus’s photorealistic finish portrays a female figure wearing a hat, a nod to the local area and the community itself. Gus explores the individual in nature, juxtaposed against the concrete city.

Mural on a low wall.

Illawarra Land and Sea by Richard Campbell. Photo: Shellharbour City Council.

Illawarra Land and Sea by Richard Campbell
Blackbutt Forest Reserve amphitheatre wall

Richard gives an insight into the meaning behind his work, and his use of visual symbolism to portray narrative and traditional language.

“Goorawal whale is the totem of this area. The ocean has delivered food for thousands of years; we have a significant connection. Land (muru) has been looked after by our people for thousands of years. Our mother has provided animals for us to eat and survival of our old people shows what we ate. The circles represent the different areas of this vast area in which we travelled for food and shelter. The old man represents the caretakers – looking over the land to ensure our country is safe and they are the custodians of Country.

“Gadhu (ocean); mutton fish (abalone); jungah (octopus); yaxa (crab); murra (fish); gadhu njin muru (land and sea people).”

Wake up Call by Krimsone and Scott Nagy
McKeon Lane, Warilla

“The mural portrays local endangered flora and fauna, including the swift parrot, weedy sea dragon, sandpiper, the magenta lilli pilli, and chorizema parviflorum, all of which are attempting to wake up the human, as we obnoxiously sleep on their decline,” they said.

Scott paints murals responding to the local landscape, often painting with surreal perspectives and environmental themes.

Krimsone rarely uses references, exploring his own imagination and turning it into physical marks and colours.

READ ALSO Artists’ wellbeing takes centre stage in the MERRIGONGX 2024 Artists Program

Inflorescence by Mandy Schöne-Salter
Corner Pioneer Drive and New Lake Entrance Road, Oak Flats

“After living in the Blue Mountains for the past 16 years, I have realised that nature can have a positive impact on our lives. Research has shown that being surrounded by nature helps us reduce anxiety and stress as well as increases our attention, creativity and ability to connect with other people.

“During the recent drought followed by the Black Summer bushfires, I have also come to understand how strongly our mental wellbeing is connected to the health of our environment. With this artwork I want the viewer to connect with and learn about our precious native flora and fauna. As Dr Jane Goodall said: ‘Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.’

“The artwork includes wildflowers like the white and yellow paper daisy, blue flax lily, flannel flower, waratah, grevillea, correa wild fuchsia and much more. I want this artwork to be eye-catching and welcoming visitors to the Shellharbour area as well as celebrate our rich and diverse native flora and fauna.”

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