Geelong West’s bold new mural is a moving symbol of cancer survivors and sufferers in the community
27.07.2020

Geelong West’s bold new mural is a moving symbol of cancer survivors and sufferers in the community

WORDS BY TALIA RINALDO

A tribute to the bravest people on the planet.

Street art is a city’s outdoor museum. Not only is it attractive to look at, but quite often street art has the impressive ability to communicate important social, cultural, or political messages in an array of environments.

The walls of Geelong have become canvases for street art over the last few years, thanks to the likes of street artists Ian Lowe, Cam Scale, Scott Jansen, and Simon ‘Chippa’ Chiovitti, just to name a few. All of them have different styles and approaches, but they all share one thing in common – their art has left a lasting impression on our town and our community.

One particular piece of stunning art that hits deep in the core is a bold new mural in Geelong West, dedicated to cancer awareness.

Expertly splashed on the wall of Bakers Delight in Pakington Street, the 10-metre mural boasts beautiful pastels and three emotive faces, bringing an uplifting sense of happiness and joy to our community and importantly honours survivors and sufferers fighting brain and breast cancer.

Commissioned by Newtown fine art studio, Bells Fine Art in collaboration with Bakers Delight Geelong West, the mural was spawned from the desire to further inject Geelong’s centre of cosmopolitan lifestyle and multiculturalism with another beautiful work of art.

“We really wanted to honour the rich history of talented artists in the area [with the origins of the esteemed Archibald Prize],” Bells Fine Art Curator and Studio Director Belinda White explains, after suggesting a mural to Suranga Sena, the owner of Bakers Delight Geelong.

“The owners of Bakers Delight Geelong West are really community-minded, they spent their 20’s and 30’s travelling in Europe and have a love of the street art scene. Suranga’s love of art combined with his concern and hopes for the community was enough for him to say yes.”

It was Suranga, however, who inspired the poignant theme of the mural, after surviving a rare brain condition.

“As a survivor myself, I was inspired to bring brain and breast cancer into focus for this mural. I knew that the mural would be a powerful way to raise awareness about cancer in the community.”

The mural features three life-like faces: the pink muse depicting a woman fighting breast cancer, a green beanie muse depicting a survivor of brain cancer and the final angelic face of an innocent child, blowing a dandelion as a wish of hope for the other two muses.

While the collaboration between Belinda and Suranga was the driving force behind the creation, the mural and its striking nature can be credited to the talented world-class portraiture and hyper-realism artist Kirsten Walsh of Jan Juc, who truly brought the vision to life.

“My inspiration was to show the community how beautiful, yet fragile these brave women can be when fighting this insidious disease,” Kirsten explains.

“People can look at this mural and feel good about it, but you can also see that there is a story behind these women on the wall – what they had overcome, what they had gone through, and in the face of adversity and their own mortality, they can still bring joy and happiness to others; and ultimately they are all stronger for it.

“I want these women to be a source of inspiration for other sufferers and our future generations that follow them,” she says.

While the mural as a whole is simply stunning with its inspiring message buoyed by the pastel colour palette and soft tones, it’s the addition of the child that communicates the power of hope for those suffering, with a promise for a brighter tomorrow.

“The child was a beautiful way to draw all three generations of the image together. The addition of the dandelion and blowing the message of hope, resilience, strength and healing on these other two women was so important and it’s just a gorgeous link that they’ve created.

“That was something that Suranga really brought to the fore,” Belinda explains. “He wanted to really see this mural be a true representation of our community, and that’s when it all fell into place the for Kirsten.”

Known as an artist who is incredibly passionate about the local art scene, Kirsten was selected for her impressive realistic style and for the sheer energy and passion that she pours into her work. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but this breathtaking creation is actually Kirsten’s first ever mural, truly bringing to light the astonishing talent we have hiding in the region.

“Bell’s Fine Art is all about giving local artists opportunities and pushing the boundaries of artists a little more than they have in the past,” Belinda reveals, “I really encouraged Kirsten to do this because I knew she had the talent and I knew that it would be beautiful, whatever she created.

“We have so much talent in this region, untapped talent like Kirsten’s and we want to showcase that.

“In these tough times of COVID-19 we also hope that this mural brings some happiness and joy to the local community,” Belinda adds. “Everyone’s been through such isolation and feelings of helplessness. The unexpected nature of turning a corner and seeing a beautiful piece of art is just a way of bringing joy to people’s lives, even just for a little bit.”

While it is easy, upon coming across a beautiful work of art on a city’s wall, to simply snap a photo, upload it to Instagram and move on, the best street art merits spending a few moments to think about what it wants to say – and that’s already been the response to the work in Geelong West.

Don’t just take our word for it, pop down and see it for yourself on the side wall of Baker’s Delight at 159 Pakington St, Geelong West.

For more information visit www.bellsfineart.com.au or their instagram or @kirstenwalshfineart