Arts Centre Mural

Arts Centre Ward Street mural concept

The City of Onkaparinga has commissioned South Australian artist, Aurelia Carbone, to deliver a mural for the south facing wall of the Arts Centre.

Concept and Philosophy – Aurelia Carbone

The challenge with this project is to create a striking, contemporary design that also embodies the historic character of the area and its attraction as a seaside destination.

My public art practice is known for incorporating optical illusions to engage the public, drawing on strong graphic shapes and repetitive patterning and detail.

For this project I have imagined a way to combine patterns from various cultures and historical periods into a work that alludes to the ocean, reef and estuary as well as the significant cultural and historical influences of the area, both colonial and indigenous.

As The Arts Centre has so many functions (a gallery, performance space, a workshop venue etc.) I have chosen to stay away from a figurative or more literal design. My intent is to create something that encourages people to come closer to explore the space and find out more about what happens inside these brick walls. I also hoped to create an inviting outdoor environment that celebrates the unique character, history and location of Port Noarlunga.

The overlapping of histories and cultures, both in the built and natural environment, was something that I wanted to highlight in my design. Originally I considered Venn diagrams with their overlapping circles, but soon came to consider the form mathematically known as a hypotrochoid – or more commonly referred to as a ‘spirograph’. These elegant, overlapping symmetrical shapes are formed from one continuous line, and bear some resemblance to underwater creatures like jellyfish or coral. They are a playful and striking way to combine all the elements in the brief into a harmonious form.

The design incorporates three of these shapes. Two will be placed on both corners of the rear wall of The Arts Centre, wrapping around the corners of the building. These sites have been chosen as especially potent for passing vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The larger of the shapes will spill on to the paving and provide an excellent site for people to take photographs of the illusion that include their family and friends. In past illusion-based artworks these photographs taken by the public have been shared via various social media platforms, encouraging others to come to the site to make their own.

Pearlescent paint will be applied in sections to enhance the jewel-like appearance of the spirograph graphics, further referencing the unique aquatic creatures living in the reef and Port Noarlunga’s status as a jewel of the South Australian coast.

The spirograph graphics will be linked by a stylised water graphic in a wood-block / linocut style. This style was first popular during the inter-war period and has continued to be used by printmakers in the decades since. The water flows around the building, alluding to the journey from the river, through the estuary to the sea. The southern wall of the mural will be 'night activated' by including glow-in-the-dark paint in the wave forms. The glow-paint will be invisible during the day, but at night the waves will phosphoresce, just as our oceans do when conditions are right.


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