Mural celebrates First Nations culture

Article image - Mural celebrates First Nations culture Matthew Newkirk and Shara Delaney add first details to the mural.

Redland City Council in Queensland has teamed up with the region’s First Nations people to showcase their thriving art community while sharing the rich cultural heritage of the local Quandamooka people.

As part of the 2017 Quandamooka Festival – an annual three-month calendar of events celebrating culture, country and people – a nine-metre tall mural entitled Dabilbahnba (meaning Place of Saltwater) has been painted on the Cleveland Library building, across the road from the main Council headquarters.

Prominent Quandamooka artists, mother and daughter team Sandra and Shara Delaney worked to bring the mural from concept to completion in collaboration with mentoring artists Matthew Newkirk and Deb Mostert and project curator Craig Flood, from CREATIVEMOVE.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said that it was wonderful to have Sandra and Shara Delaney share some of the earliest Quandamooka stories while beautifying and providing a focal point in the heart of Cleveland.

Sandra, who created the initial concept design, said that it depicted Kabul and Warrajamba, ancestral beings who represent the spirituality and energy associated with saltwater, fresh water and land.

“Their inclusion in the design highlights the significance of the land and sea to the Quandamooka people,” Sandra said.

“The three large circles represent our three clan groups, being connected by Kabul (the carpet snake) on his journey through Quandamooka Country.

“These circles also portray the spiritual and cultural connection between Minjerribah, Mulgumpin, the bay islands and the mainland.

“The red circles depict the story of Warrajamba, the mermaid whose blood was spilt on country to create a red sand hill and whose spirit inhabits the landscape.

“The blue elements represent the mangroves because we are saltwater gooris.”

From the concept design, Shara took over to create a canvas artwork, which formed the basis of the mural that she and large-scale mural specialist Matthew painted directly onto the library wall in early December – all from a scissor lift crane.

Dabilbahnba is a 2017 Quandamooka Festival project partnered by QYAC and the Creative Arts Redlands’ Public Art Program of Redland City Council.