The Culture Wall

The Culture Wall in Dent Street is a 60 metre long concrete wall that is slowly being turned into a significant piece of artwork for the Toowoomba region.

 

The Culture Wall features a series of eight artworks that represent women at work and all are located in a culturally-specific texture or background and each work is ‘woven’ into the next.

 

Each artist is a proud resident of Toowoomba, despite their varied backgrounds, and each bring an easel full of skill, passion and expertise to this once blank canvas.

meet the artists

Rahila Abdul Hadi is a delightful 16 year old, who is energetic and holds a very quiet confidence about her. As the middle child, Rahila’s family are very proud of her work and her Mum visited daily during the project to offer praise and the odd helpful hint. The family came directly to Toowoomba two years ago as Afghanistan refugees and have settled into the region with much pride in their new home. 
Rahila is currently enjoying school and the options it provides, with a future in politics not off the cards for this well-spoken, considerate young lady.

 

Learn more about the artist behind the artwork on Dent Street.

Helen (Fatmata) Sesay is a long term resident of Toowoomba, having settled in with her three children over 12 years ago. A passionate local, Helen has a myriad of artistic skills that range from her amazing painting, through to unique and one-off batik fabrics. Her heritage hails from Sierre Leone and the trauma of the infamous Blood Diamonds play a significant role in her history, and now her painting. She describes the scene of her painting vividly, noting the bare feet on the soft sand and the chickens scavenging the rice spilt from the bowl.

Mary-Kate Khoo was born and raised in Toowoomba and proudly displays the heritage of her childhood, highlighting her mother (pictured left above) as the key focus of her painting. The matriarch of the family is settled in with three of her 16 grandchildren, with the iconic backyard viewed in the background. Nestled right in the back arethe houses she, and her parents, live in today – a wonderful Toowoomba region back-drop.

 

Joanna Kambourian has rediscovered her Armenian background. Her first trip to Armenia a few years ago surprised her, particularly when she realised that as an Australian, she did in fact look like them! Joanna’s painting shows an Armenian Women in traditional Armenian dress (Taraz) against a background featuring a stylised pomegranate pattern, the national fruit of Armenia. The beautiful necklaces is where her wealth lies and head-dress is ready to protect her from the sands and winds.

Learn more about Joanna and Elysha and their artworks on Dent Street.

Elysha Rei’s work represents a Maiko Geisha in a sea of patterned Japanese waves. Born in Saudi Arabia, Elysha and her family lived in Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and Japan, taking trips around the world to Europe and across Asia.  This continued exposure to different cultures, customs and aesthetics is a strong influence in her art, drawing upon experiences transitioning between places, cultures and communities. Coupled with her Australian-Japanese heritage, Elysha's work explores her cross-cultural experiences, questioning notions of tradition and attachment to place within a clean, balanced aesthetic of Asian design.



Tiffany Shafran is a fine art exponent who retains the nineteenth century tradition of ‘sampling’, a form of stitching. Her amazing portrait is of a young woman who migrated from England in the early twentieth century to seek new opportunities for herself.   Tiffany has long wanted to be an artist, deciding her career path when she was little. She is well entrenched in the Toowoomba art scene, particularly with her day job as the Coordinator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.

 

Learn more about Tiffany and Kim and their artworks on Dent Street.

Kim Walmsley is a long-term contributor to the Toowoomba art community, having worked with Cobb & Co, as part of the First Coat Festival and through other commissions in and around the region. Her people are the Mununjali of Beaudesert and Wiradjuri of New South Wales and her piece showcases the wonderful intertwined stories of Mother Earth. With emotions, times of day and stars all intertwined into a greater story, this is an amazing piece - full of wonder and stories for all generations and cultures.

 

Megan Bartman has been painting since she was 15 years old.  A Gamilaroi woman from Inverell, NSW, she moved to Toowoomba as a child and has been painting with artist Kim Walmsley for five years. Megan’s work often depicts the connection between land, people and creatures of the Earth.  The artwork is entitled ‘Journey’: Life’s a big journey. Megan explains: as I look into the sunset, to the hills and way beyond I see two wonderful Mums.  As she takes care of bub, as they sit there at the waterhole telling stories, the butterflies fly as spirit rises. Onto their next big tomorrow. 

 

 

more to come...

Grand Central is really excited to not only enhance the buildings and grounds, but to assist in contributing to the rich artistic fabric of Toowoomba’s mural landscapes. The hope is to provide a bridge between different cultures, styles and viewpoints whilst offering contemporary artists a stage and encourage young or emerging artists to get a start on their careers.

Keep watching these emerging spaces to discover new and exciting community pieces.