Expression of Interest: Albert Street and Victoria Street
Council is currently working on the permanent installation and upgrade of the two shared zones in Brunswick East, on Albert Street and Victoria Street, adjacent to Fleming Park.
As part of this installation, we are seeking artists to create a mural for John Street, which is adjacent to the Albert Street zone, and for the painting of the shared zone road surface.
Closing date for submission of artist CV and examples of relevant work is Thursday 27 July 2023.
Do not send designs at this stage. Shortlisted artists will be contacted.
First Nations Public Artwork Expression of Interest: 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick
33 Saxon Street is a well-known, much-loved community and creative space in the heart of Brunswick. Siteworks and Blak Dot Gallery operated on the site until late 2022 and are expected back on the new site in 2024.
The site is currently undergoing a major redevelopment. As part of this, we would like to invite First Nations artists to submit an Expression of Interest for a new, large-scale, wall-based artwork.
The initial Expression of Interest closes on 2 August 2023.
Expressions of Interest: Local Public Artists' Database
Are you an artist working in the public realm?
Merri-bek City Council is looking to connect with artists experienced in delivering public artworks, as well as artists with an interest in engaging the local community and who have a connection to the area.
The opportunity is now open to register your interest in being part of a database of artists who can be approached for public art commissions such as murals, sculpture, temporary and permanent installations in Merri-bek in 2023-2024.
RenuWall is Merri-bek’s program to beautify our public spaces, engage our arts community in meaningful public artwork and address graffiti hotspots in Merri-bek. Each year a number of locations are chosen based on a range of criteria. A diverse range of local artists are commissioned to design and paint the murals.
Are you a mural or street artist?
Would you like to be considered for RenuWall and other public art opportunties in Merri-bek?
Register on our Expressions of Interest: Local Public Artists' Database page
Over the past two years, we have commissioned a range of works including;
- CitiPower substation, Fallon St, Brunswick - Hayden Dewar
- Brunswick Baths Gym, Phoenix St, Brunswick - Steve Baker
- Brunswick Park, Victoria St, Brunswick - artist Candy Ng
- Belair Avenue Park, Glenroy - artist Jaz Mishap
- 203 Nicholson St, Coburg - artist Alex Sugar
- 260 Sydney Road, Brunswick - artist Makatron
- Barkly Street Park, Brunswick - artist Ness Fleet
- Manallack Street, Brunswick - artist Texta Queen
- Harding Street, Coburg - artist Dvate
You can see some of these pieces of art photographed below.
Work by Texta Queen
Work by Alex Sugar
Work by Mike Makatron
Work by Hayden Dewar
What is public art?
We commission public art to make community spaces more exciting and attractive.
Public art is art within public spaces like parks, streets, buildings, and other areas the public uses. It can take on many forms ranging from a large permanent sculpture to a temporary performance or ephemeral projection project.
Public art creates opportunities for members of the public to encounter art within their community. It can inspire, surprise, challenge, and stimulate the public, opening up the possibilities for new connections and surprising encounters within our civic environment. It can create a sense of identity and give voice to local communities.
Our Public Art program is built around Merri-bek's remarkable cultural diversity and the depth of creative talent that live and work in our thriving creative community.
The key principles that we work toward when commissioning or proposing public art projects are works that:
- stimulate creativity, expression, and innovation by artists and communities
- stimulate healthy debate
- have artistic integrity
- increase community awareness and appreciation of art
- recognise, acknowledge and celebrate Merri-bek's distinct Indigenous culture and its connections to the land
- interpret and celebrate the area's unique heritage and identity
- celebrate local community, cultural and/or geographic diversity
- provide an artistic and cultural outlet through which communities can develop and articulate their sense of place
- provide landmarks and local icons that engender a sense of pride and identity
- promote cultural expression that is original, relevant, and of significance to the artists and arts practice within the municipality
Each work that is commissioned by us becomes part of the Merri-bek Public Art Collection - a collection that encompasses over 60 objects spanning the past 50 years.
In all of our work, we are guided by the Public Art guidelines which can be viewed at the below links:
Public Art around Merri-bek
Here are just a few of the wonderful public art commissions in Merri-bek.
'Terra Pneumatics' 2022, by Isadora Vaughan
Located at the Glenroy Community Hub, Isadora Vaughan’s rammed earth and bluestone sculpture draws attention to the continual transformation of Glenroy’s geology and its communities. The City of Merri-bek and Glenroy lie on the Western Basalt plains of Victoria, with soil and bluestone derived from ancient volcanic lava flows. Vaughan’s sculpture is created from these locally found sediments with the range of colours and textures reflecting the changing use of the land as various soils, rocks and sand were introduced from the coastal areas of Victoria.
These forms reflect Glenroy’s changing communities, emphasising our relationship with the earth, and have been shaped to enable connection through offering places to sit, lean, play and to gather. Terra Pneumatics embodies the history and sediment of Glenroy —both human and geological — and invites the community to become part of this process of layering and transformation.
'Systems of Sustainability #2' 2022, by Kent Morris
Located at the entrance to Glenroy Community Hub, this artwork by Indigenous artist Kent Morris (Barkindji people) features a delicate pattern of native plants and watchful fairy wrens, while interconnecting fence wires reference First Nations geometric designs of Australia’s South East. Carefully constructed from a single photograph, the repeating pattern provides a First Nations’ perspective that depicts plants, animals, humans, land, sea and sky as interconnected and interdependent.
Indigenous stories about the superb fairy-wren highlight the importance of individuality, but caution against competitive behaviour to prove individual worth. Systems of Sustainability #2 evokes a journey towards the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and philosophies in ecosystem management and other areas of life in Australia to provide the possibility of a sustainable future for all.
‘Ancestral Connections - The Ties that Bind' by Kent Morris
This mural by Indigenous artist Kent Morris (Barkindji) references Brunswick’s natural environment and its local history. The geometric design draws on the rope factories that were once housed in nearby Tinning Street. It is also inspired by mathematical and Chinese rope knot diagrams and First Nations design elements from the southeast of Australia. The colour palette reflects the park’s name Garrong, the Woi Wurrung word for Wattle. The magpie in this mural is significant, as Morris explains: “Magpies singing express the daily importance of community connection and the new possibilities that each day brings.” As Morris goes on to explain “Overall, the design emphasises the benefits of cross-cultural knowledge and collaboration … and these interconnecting patterns reaffirm connection to community, culture, and family, highlighting the ties that bind us together.”
'Where we have come to' by Anton Hasell
'Where We Have Come To', 2019 represents the multiculturalism that is at the heart of Merri-bek. Created from bronze, this sculpture represents a counter-twisted rope, where the diversity of strands is what gives the rope its strength. As a metaphor for multiculturalism, this sculpture shows how communities are stronger through diversity. The sculpture is located in Saxon Lane.
The sculpture is also an instrument that can be struck to generate a kind of community ripple of sound that “binds all within its sonic perimeter”. This artwork unites all members of the community together in respectful acknowledgment that we do so on Wurundjeri Country in the spirit of wandha-djerri-nganyin-atj (bringing us together).
'Rolling Path' by Simon Perry
At the end of a short side path, the concrete rolls up into a large cylinder, like a giant classical scroll that is stopped by a boulder. This wonderful sculpture is an eloquent comment on the power of nature over the built environment. Located within a parkland environment that borders Merri Creek, it reminds us of what lies beneath the city and the persistence of the earth, and the strength of its stories. It was developed as part of the Public Art Program 1997.
'Monument to Free Speech' by Simon Perry
Located outside Mechanics Institute, Brunswick. Materials include stone carving with bronze additions. The Free Speech memorial was built to commemorate the free speech fights by workers and the unemployed in the area in the 1930s and in particular, a young artist, Noel Counihan, who defied the police by speaking from a locked cage on a cart chained to a balustrade.
'Freedom Flock' by Enver Camdal and Helen Bodycomb
'Freedom Flock' commemorates prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned for anti-conscription, anti-war, or peace activism at Pentridge Prison and other prisons across Victoria. Australia has a long history of jailing peace activists who protest against war and conscription, and this artwork pays homage to these people who have sacrificed their freedom for peace. This artwork commemorates prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned for anti-conscription, anti-war, or peace activism at Pentridge Prison and other prisons across Victoria.
'New Order' by Louise Lavarack
New Order consists of five freestanding columns fixed to low concrete plinths spaced along Sparta Place in Brunswick. The form of each Greek-style column is delineated by a cage of galvanised steel uprights and mesh. The cages are filled with recycled ‘kitchenalia' toasters, kettles, saucepans, mixing bowls, teapots, etc made from various materials including stainless steel, chrome, and aluminium. Note that a portion of the kitchenalia was donated by members of the local community.
New Order is based on the sister city relationship between Brunswick and Sparta. The artwork makes a direct reference to the ruined remains of ancient Greek architecture. However, in Sparta Place, the universally recognised form of the classic Ionic column is constructed from contemporary domestic materials.