Our Space, Our Place, Our Community


The making of the Ngurra Mural

by Madeleine Gill 2022

The Ngurra Mural, 2022

The Ngurra children at Explore & Develop Annandale undertook a mural project with Madeleine Gill, Early Childhood Teacher late last year and early this year. This article by Madeleine reflects on the process and details of the Ngurra mural creation…

“It began with a green sanded down wall, a ‘blank cavas’.

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. 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.

December 2021

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 to join me, as I sat on the painting tarpaulin with our colours. It 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 children, it was time for my turn.

January 2022

The first square I decided was going to reflect where we are in the grander scope, Sydney’s Inner West. I incorporated the Harbour Bridge and the ANZAC Bridge as two landmarks the children of Annandale would be familiar with. Whether 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 connecting of 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, I again brought in some Indigenous symbols to show the hilly terrain of the area.

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

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

Throughout, the mural are nods to our various groups, the animals behind the names, from this year and last year. I wonder if you can spot them all?

If you’re interested in watching the process up close and in fast forward, see below the link to a time lapse video of the painting sessions.”

Madeleine Gill is a Jerrinja woman, Early Childhood Teacher and Artist. Maddi’s culture is central to who she is and we at Explore & Develop Annandale feel grateful that she feels safe to share it with the children and our community. We acknowledge that we live, work and play on the land of the Gadigal people which was, and always will be Aboriginal land.

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