The Park by Fiona McMonagle

A building with a mural on it. From left to right - people running on a running track, footy players linked in arms wearing yellow and black guernseys and a cricket player in whites hitting a ball

Image credit: The Park (triptych) 2022 by Fiona McMonagle at Jack Dyer Pavilion. Photo: Andrew Curtis.

Citizens Park is Richmond's largest park and one of the busiest in Yarra. It is situated on what was previously an important diverse ecological environment of swampland, flood plains and open marshland of significant cultural importance and meaning to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, the Traditional Owners of the land now known as Yarra.

The Park by Fiona McMonagle—installed on the Jack Dyer Pavilion at Citizens Park in 2022—celebrates inclusivity and the contemporary sporting activities that this space represents today for the City of Yarra.

Inner-city parks like Citizens Park have many diverse uses. They provide places to play, to exercise and to relax. They are spaces for community and are often subject to competing values and interests. The re-development of the Jack Dyer Pavilion at Citizens Park allows for the growth of the local community’s diverse interests and values and enables participation and interaction.

The Park focuses on the recreational uses of Citizens Park and its role as a community space in an area that is changing rapidly. The mural consists of three panels that address inclusivity and access to sport. Three core sporting groups who each utilize the pavilion and park as a public recreational space are represented: children, sport teams and runners. In fostering the representation of these groups, the panels also attest to the past, present, and future of this important space.

The first panel celebrates the long history of runners that use the park. Richmond Harriers Athletics Club was established in 1913 and is the oldest athletics club in Victoria. The central panel depicts young female footballers and recognises female athletes and the popularity of women and girls' teams in contemporary sports. The final panel depicts a children’s cricket match. The young players are represented through the depiction of a game that is part of our national psyche and firmly entrenched in Australian culture.
This commission is a result of Council’s Public Art Policy which ensures Council commits a percentage of the capital works budget for new community infrastructure projects.

Melbourne-based artist Fiona McMonagle is known for her watercolours that belie her darker references to pedestrian life in the suburbs. Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting), McMonagle has exhibited extensively and won several prizes. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Monash University Museum of Art, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Artbank and Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

ARTWORK: Fiona McMonagle