Street Art Brings a Burst of Colour to Communities

During the last couple weeks, the bare walls in the East Arnhem Shire Council communities of Yirrkala & Gunyangara have burst into life with vibrant colours and artwork.

Against what would be the norm, young people in the communities have been encouraged to get ‘in touch’ with their inner graffiti artist at a series of Graffiti Art Workshops.

The workshops, facilitated by well-known street artist James Dodd, has resulted in an amazing transformation of three community walls which surround sporting facilities in each of the communities; from a drab blank walls into vibrant landscaping murals which were created from concept to completion by the youth.

East Arnhem Shire Council, Youth Services Manager for Yirrkala and Gunyangara Bianca Barling said ‘We understood how important our sporting facilities and surrounding areas are to all people in the community; young people play there at night and it is an important meeting ground for community members.’

‘We thought by holding a Graffiti Art Workshop during the school holidays we would be able to engage kids and young people in the community to create artwork in public spaces that was driven by what young people wanted to see in their community.’

‘The Graffiti Art Workshops were less about trying to fix issues and more about working toward positive outcomes such as teaching skills and engaging young people in a tangible way towards something that they will be proud to have been a part of.’

Dodd who is based in Adelaide and has taken his Graffiti Art Workshops to a number of indigenous communities, draws satisfaction out of working within community groups to create collaborative murals.

The workshop was run using a community development approach, ‘The murals brighten up spaces that were often otherwise drab and boring.  People then have a long term connection with having worked on the project and carry a sense of pride and ownership,’ said Dodd.

‘Young people always have a positive experience whilst working on the murals. Usually the process is not something that they get to experience very often, it is fairly fluid and varies each time. First I show people some basic skills and whilst they are practicing start to talk about ideas for images from a theme.’

‘The main element that I use is aerosol paint.  It can be a very quick medium and is exciting for young people to use.’

‘There was certainly a great deal of talented young artists that I saw during the workshops.’

Upwards of a hundred young people were involved in the 10 day Workshop. The youth worked with elders, the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre and the local Cultural Advisor to learn about what could & could not be painted in the murals around the communities. 

View the entire Graffiti Art Workshop picture gallery on the official East Arnhem Shire Council Facebook page. or click on the icon below.