The first major piece of public art commissioned by the Ipswich City Council is breathing new life into the city transforming the large wall in Ellenborough Street alongside the cinema.
The concrete tiles, which last year were covered with faded pictures of Hollywood movie stars, has been transformed into an eye-catching and colourful mural.
This mural is the first of three planned as part of the Public Art Strategy and Plan for the Nicholas St redevelopment in the CBD.
Council engaged specialist public art consultant, Simon Koger of iAM, to help shape the strategic direction of public art in the CBD.
Mr Koger said he took into consideration the importance of communication and connection through arts and culture in our urban environment with the aim of linking artworks to the community.
The theme for the artwork opportunities at the Nicholas St redevelopment is Shine.
Shine connects to the growth and evolution of Ipswich’s history and culture, reflecting on the journey of change and development over time.
The next site to have a large format mural will be the façade at 143 Brisbane Street, which is the large council-owned building at the top of Nicholas Street.
That mural is currently in the concept development phase.
Following on will be an Indigenous mural on the shade structure in the civic space still under construction which is currently in the arts selection phase.
Ipswich City Council Acting Chief Executive Officer Sean Madigan said the new mural in Ellenborough Street is the start of a larger mural and public art portfolio.
“The CBD re-development is strengthening the CBD area as a highly attractive and functional centre for existing and new businesses, property investors, residents and visitors,” Mr Madigan said.
“This is just the beginning, other large scale murals will follow along with a significant sculptural artwork to be located in a prominent position in the civic space adjacent to the new Council administration building.
“We will also be taking part in the Brisbane Street Art Festival with workshops being held in Ipswich with opportunities for residents to be involved.
“We want to enhance Ipswich’s CBD by bringing to life spaces that are currently unused.”
The re-development has provided an opportunity to create a range of high quality public artworks that need to be conceptually accessible and understood by the broader community.
“They will also challenge ideas and stimulate discussion and debate,” Mr Madigan said.
Interest was sought from all over Australia for a list of artists with the skills and experience to undertake the Ellenborough Street facing large-scale mural project.
A selection panel then narrowed it down to four before deciding on Queensland born artist Sam Songialo’s design, which was not only visually compelling and complex but best suited the wall’s existing grid pattern.
Mr Songialo’s design has a contemporary and futuristic aesthetic and is unique for South East Queensland.
“I like to work site specifically, so I quite liked how this wall was made up of squares, so my design for the wall used those squares and the architecture to inform what it would be,” Mr Songialo said.
“It’s retro future, that’s my vibe.
“I am inspired by all the 80s clothes and surf wear that mum never bought me when I was young.”