Campus improvements at the University of Canberra are not all about bricks, mortar and robust structures. Vibrant colours and creative inspiration have entered the mix.
As students commenced Semester Two in the first week of August they were met with a fresh vibrancy and a bold touch of colour in the hallways of the University’s Buildings 2 and 7.
Talented local street artists Faith Kerehona and Bohie Palecek were commissioned to paint murals in key learning spaces on campus, adding a rich diversity that students can now enjoy.
Having made their mark on the local street art scene, Faith and Bohie enjoy every opportunity to express their creativity and unique styles whether individually or collaboratively.
From dreamscapes and landscapes to striking lifelike portraits and Australian wildlife the new murals have added a touch of colour, an essence of personality and a connection to Australian life, its people and country.
“Using the canvases of what were once uninteresting learning spaces and turning each into an expression of our individual and collaborative creative expressions was so fulfilling,” said Faith.
To be taken seriously in the street art community takes a lot of effort, commitment and courage. That is why I choose to express myself in the most authentic way I can.
Faith is currently completing her double degree in Visual Art and Sociology at the Australian National University while continuing to pursue many creative outlets.
Her expansive mural of portraits that don the wall in Level A of Building 2 are a very personal representation of her work and were carefully designed to give expression to the representation of minority groups and their presence in the community, in an academic space.
“I wanted people to feel invited into the space and represented within it. All those I painted are my friends and I wanted to give them a platform along with others that may look like them, to feel comfortable in this environment,” said Faith.
Faith usually works with spray paint but wanted her mural to be done with brushwork of a high standard. “It was an opportunity to make impressive art and I believe it is my best work yet,” She said.
As a commercial artist well established in the signwriting industry, Bohie finds street art liberating and therapeutic. She can use it to explore her creativity against the setting of her own personal life experiences.
“My art is always a work in progress and takes shape as I progress through the piece, so my murals are a deep illustration of my internal head space,” she said.
Bohie’s work on her mural in a study space in Building 7 was a symbolic response to creating a piece that was a dreamscape of her home, with an interpretation of her inner world.
“I was able to take a larger than life idea and allow it to unfold under the brush as a representation of some of the mental health issues that I have experienced in my life,” said Bohie.
“I painted from a vulnerable place and definitely put myself out there a bit in these murals as I was able to be more expressive.
“My hope is that our art will encourage others in this space to explore their own creativity, and possibly find an escape from the stresses of the daily routine of class and studies,” she said.
Faith and Bohie have left an indelible mark on the University campus; it is worth a visit to Buildings 2 and 7, where you will experience how study meets art and inspires learning.
Photos by Madeleine Wood