Opinion

Artists paint Goulburn Valley cheerful amid challenging times

By Shepparton News

Art has many intangible, yet undeniable powers.

Among them, and in my opinion, the most important right now, is the ability to provide solace during challenging times.

Over the past month, I’ve encountered a number of artists in the Goulburn Valley wielding a paintbrush (or big paint roller in some cases) to transform otherwise unremarkable structures into masterpieces.

Take local legend Tank’s latest work on Fryers St, cheekily titled ‘Stay the Duck at Home,’ as an example.

A flock of self-isolating ducks – and several quarantining mice – peek out of brightly coloured caravans, giving the community a pertinent message with a hefty dose of cheer.

“It’s about staying at home as much as possible, and getting rid of this virus,” Tank explained to me as he completed the finishing touches on the street art from a scissor lift.

While I was filming footage of Tank’s mural for a story with Nine News Border North East, pedestrian after pedestrian stopped what they were doing to look up and admire the artwork, many cracking a smile as a result.

A quick zoom down the Goulburn Valley Hwy to Nagambie, and the recently re-opened Zephyrz Bar and Restaurant has unveiled its ‘Wall of Champions’, a sprawling mural depicting every Group One horse racing winner from the region.

Black Caviar and Winx are among the big names deftly captured by artist Christiano Dery Theodorus.

Owner Brett Knight hopes the mural, which is the centrepiece of the business’s new Champions Bar, attracts out-of-towners while also giving the tight-knit racing fraternity a place to mingle.

“We wanted to create a museum piece where people could come and celebrate Nagambie,” he told me.

In Picola, the towering grain silo on Moran St will soon be transformed by acclaimed Melbourne artist Jimmy Dvate.

It’s hoped a big splash of colour will lure visitors to the sleepy town and mirror the success of the North East Art Trail.

“Other than the farming community, there's nothing else around here,” Picola and District Improvement Group president Jeanette Holland said.

“There's a lot of through traffic that keep on going, so if we could get them to stop that would help.”

Ms Holland told me the mural would depict the nearby Barmah Forest, which holds significant historic and cultural importance to the area.

“The forest has been the hub of this community for a long, long time,” she said.

With Ms Holland and the rest of the PDIG set to meet with Dvate in coming weeks to finalise the design, it won’t be long before work on the mural kicks off. And I’m sure I won’t be the only one periodically detouring through Picola to check in on the progress, and taking a moment to enjoy the magic of art.

Lexie Jeuniewic is the Nine News Border North East reporter