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The Sector > Provider > General News > Our Space, Our Place, Our Community: ECT Madeleine shares the Ngurra Mural story

Our Space, Our Place, Our Community: ECT Madeleine shares the Ngurra Mural story

by Madeleine Gill

May 18, 2023

Madeleine Gill is a Jerrinja woman, Early Childhood Teacher and artist who works at Explore & Develop Annandale. In the piece below, Madeleine shares her story about connecting the children to the community through the creation of the Ngurra Mural. 


The Ngurra children at Explore & Develop Annandale undertook a mural project with Madeleine late in 2021, and early in 2022. 


“It began with a green sanded down wall, a ‘blank canvas’. After two coats of base coat, the children sat with me and helped me to brainstorm ideas. As I watched them doing their own drawings alongside me, I began to think about how we could create an artwork that was inspired by the space, the children and the greater community here in Annandale,” Madeleine explained.

“At the same time, I noticed the children experimenting with shapes in their drawings and decided that we could use squares to space out the painting. A trip to the art studio was in order. After all that prep work, the children were keen to add some colour to the wall. A few of the children joined me on the walk, carrying their paint pots, ready to choose colours. The group selected four main colours – green, blue, red and orange, and with a dollop of white added to each, we set off to our painting station.”


The children seemed hesitant, she observed, noting that this mode of creating art was “a very different experience to our usual painting”. 


“We had never used tape on our pages before. While we had painted the wall earlier in the year, perhaps the blank canvas and the tape made them pause. In the end, I had to make the first mark, swirling some blue and white on my sponge and dabbing it on one of the squares. After that, the children jumped in, adding colour to the squares with enthusiasm.”


With the background done with the help of the Bilby room children, it was time for Madeleine to add her own layers to the artwork. 

January 2022


“In the first square, I decided was going to reflect where we are in the grander scope, Sydney’s Inner West,” she explained. 


“I incorporated the Harbour Bridge and the ANZAC Bridge as two landmarks the children of Annandale would be familiar with. Either because they had walked by them, or because they saw them often as they moved about in their lives. And of course, that meant water. Bringing in some of my experience with Indigenous art, I decided to depict the movement of the water in the harbour through the mural, connecting to a number of watering holes.”


The second square was much more zoomed in, depicting Booth Street and its intersections surrounded by trees and animals. With Annandale, and Booth Street in particular, being on a hill, Madeleine again brought in some Indigenous symbols to show the hilly terrain of the area.

“In the third square, I thought I’d show some love to our favourite places and animals,” she added. “The Faraway Tree painted in one corner with Frankie and Mr Watzi in their natural habitats.”

Finally, the fourth square depicts the space at Explore & Develop Annandale – five gathering spaces all connected and people sitting around them together.

Throughout the mural are nods to the various groups in the service, the animals behind the room names, from 2021 and 2022.


A timelapse video of the artwork being created is available here.

The Explore & Develop Annandale team acknowledge that they live, work and play on the land of the Gadigal people which was, and always will be Aboriginal land. 


This is an abridged version of a story that was originally shared on the Explore & Develop Annandale blog, and has been reshared here with permission. Access the original piece here.

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