Murals add colour and culture to MercyCare centres in local artist collaboration
The Sector > Provider > General News > Murals add colour and culture to MercyCare centres in local artist collaboration

Murals add colour and culture to MercyCare centres in local artist collaboration

by Freya Lucas

March 07, 2022

Perth-based Indigenous artist Brian Blatchford of BKB Design was recently commissioned by early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider MercyCare to paint a series of murals across its Early Learning Centres, with two completed at Ballajura and Bassendean.


“We wanted the designs to reflect our community, our families, our outdoor spaces and acknowledge Aboriginal culture respectfully,” said MercyCare Early Learning Mission and Quality Project Lead Courtney Barnard.


“They create a beautiful welcome statement for families and are going to be a great talking point, where we can really spark curiosity in the children and then scaffold their learning. If a child is interested in the artwork and asks about it, then that provides a great platform to have a yarn and spark a conversation about Aboriginal culture.”


As well as creating engagement and education opportunities for children and families Ms Barnard said the decision to employ an Aboriginal artist was a deliberate measure from MercyCare to give back to the community. 


“In Brian Blatchford we found an amazing talent who just shows such pride in every piece of artwork he does,” she added. 


The mural project is part of MercyCare Early Learning Services focus on Aboriginal Pathways to increase knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal culture. The Early Learning team worked with MercyCare’s Aboriginal Pathway Lead to ensure the work being done respected Aboriginal traditions.


Each of the artworks have a similar theme with a yarning circle and nest which represent the centre and the children who attend. Then with input from staff, each mural is individualised to reflect the local community.


Two of the planned five murals are currently complete, with Ballajura and Bassendean the first to be delighted with the designs.


Birds are the focus of Ballajura piece

At MercyCare Ballajura Early Learning Centre, the 6-metre-long by 2-metre-high mural reflects the birds that visit the yard, taking advantage of the thriving vegetable patch and mature trees. Represented are koolbardi (magpie), djidi djidi (willy wag tail) and bandin (honeyeater). The footprints represent those of the children and the journey they take through early education.


River and rooms acknowledged at Bassendean


At MercyCare Bassendean Early Learning Centre, a mural overlooks the sandpit and fort, reflecting the proximity of the Centre to Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River), showing the river and the animals the centre’s three rooms are named after – yongka (kangaroo), kweeyar (frog) and yakkan (turtle).

The murals have been designed with bright colours and animal designs to appeal to children, while remaining traditional and respectful of culture.


To learn more about MercyCare please see here. Images courtesy of BKB Design. 

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