Festive decorations in Yarra

Monday 30 November 2020

A photo of the Richmond Town Hall with it's 4 columns wrapped in colourful artworks banners
Image: Emma Coulter's artwork Spatial Deconstruction #24 (Christmas wrapper) installed at the Richmond Town Hall. Image courtesy of the artist

We have commissioned three local artists to bring the festive spirit to Yarra throughout December and January. Artworks by Emma Coulter, Arkie Barton and Minna Leunig have been installed on the exterior of the Collingwood Town Hall, Richmond Town Hall and Bargoonga Nganjin.  

Coming Into Bloom by Minna Leunig 

Minna Leunig has taken the shape of a traditional tree bauble and blown it up to a momentous scale and then decorated it with animals and elements from the Australian bush. With a nod to Melbourne’s beloved Myer Christmas windows, Bargoonga Nganjin's circular windows around the building are dressed up in Leunig's stylised and playful animals, each one full of character, personality and spirit.  These fantastical creatures, both familiar and strange can also be found creeping along the walkway of the library between the two entrances to the building. Embellished with reflections of the Australian landscape and various botanical varieties these artworks will delight young and old alike.  

View and read more about Minna’s artworks

Spatial Deconstruction #24, (christmas wrapper) by Emma Coulter 

In celebration of the festive season, Emma Coulter, has wrapped the columns of Richmond Town Hall, with her work ‘spatial deconstruction #24, (Christmas wrapper)’, as an offering to the local community. The bright colours and vibrancy of the works reflect the atmosphere and anticipation of the festive season. Coulter’s work explores the transformative power of colour as a visual sensation and language. 

View and read more about Emma’s artworks

NGURRUYAN (Sweet) by Arkie Barton

Kalkadoon Bidjara artist Arkie Barton who works locally in Richmond has created bold and colourful artworks to adorn the façade of the Collingwood Town Hall over the festive season. These artworks showcase her distinct style and acknowledge the rich Aboriginal history of Yarra; and the continuing connection that the community has with this area today.

Ngurruyan—meaning ‘sweet’ in Arkie Barton’s traditional Kalkadoon language—has been created in bright, candied colours and contemporary Indigenous symbolism. The artwork reflects the history of this place as somewhere Aboriginal people come together to share, socialise, sing a song and celebrate culture. The symbolism is derived from Kalkadoon motifs for gathering places and meeting spots; it is a representation of what this area has always been and continues to be for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

View and read more about Arkie’s artworks

More about the artists

Minna Leunig lives and works between Clifton Hill and Anglesea. She employs limited pigments to create her signature style of primal and earthy images inspired by the natural world. Responding to the spirit and vibrancy of the Festive Season in a very inclusive manner, her artworks installed at Bargoonga Nganjin will bring joy to passers-by and welcome everyone in Yarra’s diverse community to the library and other services. 

Emma Coulter’s art practice utilises built forms and spatial environments as supports for painting, transforming architectural elements into multichromatic sculptural interventions. She is interested in implementing her work outside of the institutions of art and into everyday spaces, as a way of breaking down the hierarchical structures of art.  

Arkie Barton is an emerging artist, textile and fashion designer, currently living in Naarm/Melbourne. Arkie is a proud Kalkadoon Bidjara woman, who draws from her Aboriginal heritage to create beautiful contemporary pieces across multiple disciplines. She has often collaborated with other creatives, and has presented a number of solo and group exhibitions nationally, building up to her current diversification of creative practice. Arkie the Label was created in 2015 as a platform for mainstream Australia to engage with contemporary Aboriginal culture through an inclusive and accessible creative form - fashion.

All works are on display until 1 February, 2021.  Commissioned by Yarra City Council, 2020.  


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