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Stockland Forster announces winning artists for 83m mural

Back in August 2020, Stockland sought expressions of interest from local, professional artists in delivering a public art mural, with the selected artists to be remunerated for their concept design and artwork installation. Stockland is pleased to announce the winners…

At the time, Alex Walichnowski, Centre Manager at Stockland Forster, said the 83-metre-long blank wall was the perfect opportunity for the centre’s first community art mural.

“We want this mural to reflect the community spirit and pride that we see in customers who come through our centre every day, and who better to create this piece of art than one of our very own local artists,” he said.

Alex Walichnowski, Centre Manager at Stockland Forster with three of the four mural artists

The brief was for the mural to be contemporary, feature abstract design, and reflect the local environment’s earthy and natural colour palette. It must also capture the identity of the community, and evoke a sense of connection and pride. The competition saw 13 submissions from community artists – both individually and as groups – with a range of strong creative entries.

In October, Stockland announced the winning artists, with Walichnowski stating it was a tough decision as all proposals were reflective of the region’s natural beauty and community spirit.

“We were overwhelmed with the number of creative and passionate entries received from the local community, and it was a really hard decision to make,” he said. “We initially shortlisted ten works of art that were then discussed among a group of 30 local Stockland staff who managed to agree on two finalists.”

The collaboration of local artists Donna Rankin, Lara Went, Nicole Bramble and Shannon Crees were awarded the contract for the mural – all are experienced, award-winning artists with previous mural experience.

Crees said: “Our design submission is a collaboration that is a textural tapestry, a playful journey and a delight for the eyes. As women, we have woven a collective narrative of the local community – for the community. Through pattern, symbols and icons representing life in Forster and its surrounds, this dynamic and abstract artwork blends in harmony the local environment using the ocean waves to segment each artist’s unique work.”

For Went, artist group member and contemporary Aboriginal Worimi artist, it is important that the unveiling includes a nod to her culture and heritage.

“We would like to invite a local Indigenous leader who would perform ceremony as a cultural inclusion for our landscape, and also invite local Indigenous youth from our area to welcome the spirit of this work,” she said.

Sarah Neilsen, General Manager of Placemaking at Stockland, said: “It’s important to support arts and culture where possible – especially with the challenging year we’ve all experienced – and so we saw this as an opportunity to engage local artists, while also tastefully paying tribute to the community spirit, creativity and captivating environment in Forster.

“We hope the mural will provide locals with a sense of pride and remind them of their fortune living in such a beautiful area, and visitors a taste of what Forster is all about.”

The mural is expected to be completed prior to Christmas 2020.

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