Narembeen, Home of the Crocodile?

When my artist for the Narembeen workshop suggested we create a mural for the Narembeen workshop, my first reaction was “Oh boy, we only have a couple months to organise this, I don’t have enough time to jump through council hoops and permissions!” So when I called the events officer at the Shire of Narembeen to talk about the possibility of doing some street art, I was bracing myself for a long process and lots of paperwork. Instead I was met with “Yes! I have the perfect thing!”

Narembeen is about a two hour drive from Northam and has a population of roughly 500 people. It also has some magnificent metal sculptures that are quite impressive. I invited Patricia (my artist for Narembeen), to come check out the site, and she brought along a couple of her colleagues, Jamie and Will.

Patricia Rose a passionate local artist with a penchant for community action and art therapy, and has recently been collaborating with a graffiti artist from Perth, so it was pretty serendipitous when Sheree, the EO from the Shire, informed us that they’re finishing up renovations at the skate park and need a fresh coat of paint on their equipment. They planned to do a solid colour to repaint the concrete, but how much better would it be to have artwork by the people who live there?

When we got to the skate park, we had a long chat about the workshop. Originally I had penciled in dates for November, but with limited shade over the equipment, we’d need to get it going as soon as possible to beat the heat. Next the participants. All the workshops are geared at adults who are disconnected from their community, whether through a disability, anxiety or depression, cultural background, sexual orientation, or just struggling to find connection where they are. However, the people using this skate park are going to be school-aged kids, so having a bunch of adults design and paint something without the kids’ input seems a bit counter-intuitive.

Patricia has already worked with school kids designing murals before, so it was a no-brainer that we need to make this workshop accessible to them, and create an opportunity for the next generation to connect to their community by creating something that they get to use every day and take pride in. So final result looks like this – end of October Saturday workshops for 12 – 18 year olds. The first day we get to play with designs and spray paint, the second day is executing the designs on the skate park and putting together a portfolio.

We had lunch at the Co-op (omg the juices were amazing, they were worth the 4 hour drive by themselves!) and discussed the workshop some more, then we explored town and found this beautiful crocodile! My favorite part was when Jamie, who is visually impaired, explored the feel of the crocodile and realised it was made with cogs and wheels and bits of scrap metal. A worker from the Shire was walking by and offered to take some pictures of us, it was so kind of him.

I’m really looking forward to coming back to Narembeen for this workshop! And if you know a school-aged kid who would benefit from getting involved in this workshop, fill out this survey to get on the waitlist – www.surveymonkey.com/r/M8YFXLC.

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