Episode 4: Local People/Like a Bull
A piano plays, playing a repetition of notes, then joined by a drum beat. Continues under narration and interview.
These two smiling faces are comedian Dane Simpson and soccer champion Jada Whyman depicted in Sydney-based artist Reubszz’s mural titled ‘Local People’.
Dane Simpson lives in Wagga Wagga but was born in Bundaberg, Queensland and his mob hails from Walgett NSW on Gamilaraay country. He is a comedian, writer, producer and actor who shares a joke and a yarn with audiences near and far.
Jada was born and raised in Wagga Wagga and is a proud Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. Jada has represented Australia at under-17 and under-20 level and is a premier goalkeeper in A-League Women’s where she currently plays for Sydney FC.
She is going to tell us what it was like to have her portrait featured in this mural:
Narrator: Not everyone has their face on the side of a building, how does it feel to be featured in this mural?
Jada: Yeah, it’s an amazing honor, honestly to be up there with Dane Simpson, yeah its’s a bit of weird of thing I guess like having your face painted up on a building, I never thought something like that would ever happen to me, so yeah it’s pretty weird but also kind of cool.
Narrator: So what was it like to be a part of that process?
Jada: It was kind of a weird one I guess in the sense like I didn’t know how it was going to look and if I thought if I was kind of someone that needed to be up on that wall. I guess, and it was yeah it was cool kind of process in the sense of getting to meet the artist and how he kind of just explained how he was going do it, so he came and like took my photo and then went back and did it and I didn’t get to see it for quite some time in person as I don’t back to Wagga as much as I’d like to but during it all it was just yeah awesome for I guess for mostly my family, they were pretty excited for it as well.
Narrator: Can you tell me a bit about why works like this one are so important for the local Wiradjuri community?
Jada: I think it just shows that like you kind of step out of your comfort zone, I think something that I kind of did with my football like I guess is a little bit out of the box, a lot of us play AFL and rugby league I guess in Wagga and for me soccer was a little bit different and Dane doing comedy like that’s just like there’s not many of us that do different things like that, so I guess it’s just showing that whatever you, like I hope that what people and kids see from it is that you can kind of put your mind to something different whatever you want to do with your life and take it wherever you want to do yeah I just hope that’s kind of the message that the Wiradjuri community got from it.
Reubszz chose to paint these prominent figures from the local First Nations community with their backdrop as the landscape of the lush green Wiradjuri reserve. This area, as well as the Marrambidya Wetlands, can be found not far from here by following the Wiradjuri Trail further along the Murrumbidgee River, just a few minutes from the city centre.
Music fades out.
Matador trumpet plays.
Spanish matador music featuring guitar and trumpet plays quietly under narration.
Further up the path a giant bull stops us in our tracks. This mural was created by artist Keo Match and is aptly titled ‘Like a Bull in a China Shop’. This tongue-in-cheek mural was painted in 2018. The intricately painted china vessels are surrounded by swirling brushstrokes evoking the erratic movements of the giant bull.
Due to the varied surfaces of this wall, painting this photorealistic mural was no easy feat. The final product is a testament to Keo’s skill as an artist.
Music fades out
The murals you’ve seen in this laneway came together from the aim to activate spaces and promote urban renewal. The murals have transformed the rear aspect of these buildings and created neighbourhood pride that builds on the reputation of Fitzmaurice Street as an arts and cultural hub.
Continue along the path and you will soon arrive at a mysterious sculpture from another world.
A smiling First Nations woman and man painted from the waist up feature in this mural which covers the external wall of a building. The words “lost lanes” extend the width of a smaller wall to the right, painted in large, lower case, black script shadowed in blue.
The corrugated iron, gable wall of the building has a roller door on the bottom right side. Against a background of a clear, blue sky and tall, silver gum trees are the bust portraits of a man, on the left side, standing behind a woman on the right side.
The woman has shoulder length, black hair worn parted in the middle, thick, black eyebrows and her smiling mouth exposes her straight, white teeth. She is staring straight ahead and wears a boat necked black top.
The man’s head is tilted slightly to the right, his brown eyes are calm and his mouth is closed. He has a sturdy build, thick black hair, a broad forehead, thick, black eyebrows, a closely trimmed beard and he wears a crew neck, short sleeved, black t-shirt.
Like a bull
The side of a red brick building is sectioned horizontally into three parts featuring the head of a horned bull. The lower third is brick, the middle is panelled with plaster board and the top section is a corrugated material with the corrugations running vertically.
The wall is painted white and has urn shaped vases painted as the background. The urns, in varying sizes are each outlined in navy blue and decorated in a different blue design - flowers, leaves, swirls, geometric and ancient symbols - are placed in a diagonal pattern, top left to lower right. Wide painted ribbons in navy and cobalt blue are swirled across and behind the vases. Against this background, and set in the middle of the wall, is a portrait of a powerful, black bull facing forward with a steady gaze. His horns extend out to the side and curl upward. His right horn is white and the horn on the left is black, giving the impression of light shining in on him from the right side. The hair along the middle of his back is white, as is the hair over his eyes and down the middle of his face. On the right side of the wall are the words “Like a Bull”. They are written in large, white capital letters shadowed with royal blue.