In December 2023, Chuck Mayfield transformed a 22m (w) x 14m (h) wall in Field Street, Ballarat. At the heart of the mural, depictions of Bunjil and Waa breach the water’s surface, referencing Lal Lals Falls from the Bunjil origin story, and representing Waa as the protector of the waterways. The water itself is symbolic of the local lakes, creeks, rivers, and has nostalgic ties to the YMCA pool which locals will remember being on this site.
The mural shows Bunjil’s transformation visually from head to tail; through time and motion, becoming more magical and vibrant with a sensational yet refined colour palette, carefully selected after council consultation. Bunjil’ s plumage transitions from natural earthy browns to brightly illuminated colour against a glowing sky. Light comes from his chest to signify his turning into a star. Waa has similar supernatural elements to signify his identity as a deity spirit. Subtle streams of abstract colour and pattern emulate from behind the birds to represent the spirit of creativity and culture evolving from the Ballarat community, driving the culture and community forward into the future.
Both spirits of Bunjil and Waa were included after consultation with Traditional Owner, Bonnie Chew to represent key elements of timelessness, and the ever present history of tradition and storytelling lore. Although these symbols will have different meanings to everyone, they are a common presence in the environment experienced by all. The eagle and crow are symbols that connect us in a way that transcends our differences and even time. They are from ancient indigenous mythology, and can still be seen flying overhead in Ballarat today.
References to colonial history merge with the sky, the land, and the water to represent Ballarat as we know it now, and the symbiotic relationship between the land and all people who live there. These layers in the composition overlay the diverse collection of influences in Ballarat’s cultural offering, and the complexities and layers in human life, psychology, and culture. The colours of the environment blend through this section to instill unity through the whole piece, symbolising the united community of different groups, cultures, and backgrounds as they merge together.
The overarching message of this wall signifies that Ballarat is moving onward and upward with the vibrance of its people’s creative energy. This piece focuses on highlighting common ground in the shared spaces that connect and bond the people who share it, with the hope of increasing community spirit, social cohesion, and a sense of belonging and identity that all residents can take pride in. Importantly, this piece recognises Ballarat’s rich history as a foundation for the bright future to come. It pays homage to all whose lives have touched the area, and those now part of continuing.
Proudly commissioned by the City of Ballarat.
© 2024 Just Another Agency. JUST ANOTHER ACKNOWLEDGES THE TRADITIONAL OWNERS OF THE LAND IN WHICH WE LIVE & WORK & THEIR CONTINUING CONNECTION TO LAND, SEA & COMMUNITY. WE PAY OUR RESPECTS TO THEM & THEIR CULTURES; & TO ELDERS, PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE.
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