Dame Edna
Ling | 2018
Paint and aerosol
Cadell Place (rear of 153 Fitzmaurice St), Wagga Wagga

Public Art Audio Trail

Episode 3:  Butcher's Medusa & Dame Edna

Episode 3 combines both Dame Edna and Butcher's Medusa.

Audio visual description - Dame Edna:

Acknowledgement spoken by Bernard Higgins.
Narration, content and interview by Ashleigh Adams.
Sound and music by Sam Webber Sound.

Episode 3: Dame Edna/Butchers Medusa

A piano plays, playing a repetition of notes, then joined by a drum beat. Music plays through to the end of the episode.

Butcher’s Medusa, painted in 2018 by Ignacio Querejeta acknowledges some of the businesses that found their homes on Fitzmaurice Street, from butcher shops to hairdressing salons.

Ignacio’s towering mural presents passers-by with something new and surprising to discover. Unlike the Medusa we know from Greek mythology this Medusa won’t turn you to stone if you look her in the eye. In fact, she might just make you smile. Instead of snakes, medusa’s infamous hair is made of sausages. She is painted in fun pinks and reds that brighten this hidden corner of Cadell Place, bringing some cheeky irony to this diverse gallery of murals.

To the right of Butcher’s Medusa, we happen upon a familiar face, or is it? The signature glasses and wig of Dame Edna Everage are painted on to an unknown man in this light-hearted tribute by Melbourne-based artist Ling.

Known for producing large-scale murals, Ling looks to combine the aesthetics of traditional graffiti with that of his childhood. Growing up through the late 80’s and early 90’s Ling often borrows imagery, colour schemes and subject matter synonymous with Pop culture from the era. Even though this is not the Dame herself, we instantly recognise the signature look. And fans will of course know that according to her creator Barry Humphries, Dame Edna is a Wagga girl.

Now let’s hear from Ling who is going to tell us more about this incredibly detailed mural:

Narrator: So, Ling why did you choose Dame Edna?

Ling: I chose Dame Edna because when I started doing research and looking at sort of figures that are from that area, I found it very very interesting and you know comical that someone that isn’t real that’s you know it’s a projection of persons comedy routine was given a birth place and I found that amazing unusual very interesting and it presented an opportunity to do something that I say isn’t the norm when it comes to you know public art things of that nature especially pushing it that further and getting one my mates to dress up is a lot of fun.

Narrator: And why did you choose to paint a friends face and not Dame Edna herself?

There is a couple of different ideas behind that, one is wherever possible, I like to generate my own imagery and create artwork that’s unique and I know that someone else isn’t going to be able just go and google,  find that image and paint another version of that. The other part of that is with a background in graffiti it’s extremely male dominated, there’s a lot of testosterone and macho energy that goes into that so, to get a friend who’s a graffiti writer to then say “hey put on this wig and these glasses and this dress and we are going to take some photos and I am going to paint you really big”, it’s just the polar opposite of what you would normally think of with a graffiti writer, so I like the tongue and cheek side of things for that.

Narrator: How do you go about painting a detailed portrait like this onto such an unpredictable and multi-textured surface?

Ling: That is the one of the huge benefits of painting with spray paint. It doesn’t care what the surface is, it just paints onto whatever’s in front of it, so for the most part I look at the surfaces as just flat, I pretend that it’s not corrugated, trust my process, work through it and as awkward as the surface can be at times you know that ultimately you will get the result.

The celebration of Wagga Wagga’s culture and community continues further down the path where you will be greeted by two friendly faces.

Visual Description

Butchers Medusa

A giant woman’s face stares directly at us. The style is flat, blocky, geometric, like a face in classical ancient art. Strong black lines contour the nose and eyebrows. The skin is dark grey, with light grey highlighting the cheeks. Large red lips, diamond shaped, and shaded bright and dark, sit just below the centre of the picture. A barely visible pattern of abstract geometric outline figures - like the crackle in old ceramics - spreads a veil over the whole face. Fat red sausages coil around the picture’s edge. A couple of red curls fill the peak of the building. More of them clump in the lower left corner. On the middle right of the mural, the red sausages tumble out onto the neighbour’s wall. Entwined with these are five more sausages. Smaller and slimmer, painted in grey pink to match Medusa's eyes, they are highlighted with a fine white line.

Dame Edna

The painting shows a man, aged in his mid 30s, with pink toned skin and a neatly trimmed, grey flecked, brown moustache and beard. He appears to be lying on his side, extending his right upper arm on the pavement, propping his head on his hand. He has mid length, manicured, shell pink lacquered finger nails. His thumb is placed under his jaw and fingers curled against his cheek bone. His brow is creased, his brown eyes looking towards the left and his lips slightly parted.

He is wearing an elegantly styled, wavy, shoulder length wig in purple tones and black framed cat eye glasses. The glasses have four diamanté studded curled extensions on each outer side of the frames, in the style of Dame Edna Everidge. The detailed portrait is on the cream coloured corrugated iron external wall of a building.

The visible section of his outfit has three layers — against his body and peeking above the second layer is a crew necked, black t-shirt. The second layer has a red and white floral patterned top with a band of crystals edging the round neckline, and the top layer is a plush, unbuttoned, brown velvet, long sleeved jacket.

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This artwork is a part of the Public Art Audio Trail, follow the link below to see all the artworks on the trail.

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About the Artwork

For this light-hearted commission, artist Ling chose to paint a friend wearing the iconic purple wig and cat-eye glasses of Dame Edna Everage. This created a playful nod to Dame Edna’s place of birth for the 2018 Lost Lanes winter festival.

Ling is a Melbourne based Graffiti / Street artist that has been adding colour to his surrounding environment since 2000. Known for producing large-scale murals, Ling looks to combine the aesthetics of traditional graffiti with that of his childhood. With his formative years being through the late 80’s and early 90’s Ling often borrows imagery, colour schemes and subject matter synonymous with Pop culture from the era.