Read more about the 2016 Melbourne Art Trams from the artists who created them.
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Always was, Always will be is a historic political statement that calls for recognition and acknowledgement of the fact that Australia did have original inhabitants who owned the land—the Aboriginal people. In this urban context of Melbourne, the meaning is clear—this was Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung country and always will be Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung country.
Prompted by the near disappearance of The Women’s Mural by a large tag earlier this year, the imagery of 30 years ago has been re-configured to fit a tram. Originally 30 feet high and 150 feet long the mural was completed in 1986 and depicted 35 women and three boys as a representation of the diverse community of women in Northcote in the 1980s. The original mural was designed by Eve Glenn and Megan Evans and painted by them with Carol Ruff and Marina Baker.
This artwork is an extension of Associates, an ongoing project that combines visual motifs and textile designs by the Memphis group—an industrial design collective from Milan who produced many objects and environments that defined Post-Modern design in the 1980s—with imagery depicting Italian student and worker protests and meetings from the 1970s. National Gallery of Victoria collected and exhibited several Memphis pieces in the 80’s and these works influenced many Melbourne artists and designers, who established their visual language as a critical tool. My artwork uses motifs influenced by Memphis in conjunction with an iconic photograph of a student protest as a reflection of Melbourne as an energised community that promotes a progressive attitude to culture and politics alike.
Creative activities and works of art allow people to—for a moment at least—forget themselves, politics, differences and origins, to share an experience, to learn from each other and enjoy each other’s company. The creativity that fuels Melbourne and gives it its vibrant, dynamic energy is generated by diverse cultures and individuals meeting through such shared experiences. I hope my design inspires people who see it to forget themselves and feel the joy which I always experience when creating, and which I try to express through my use of colour and fluidity. I hope it encourages people from all backgrounds to do, to dance, to create, to enjoy and to contribute to the many creative communities that make Melbourne what it is.
Melbourne consists of many cultures, as does Australia. The beauty of our Australian culture lies in the fact that we accept all cultures as our own, and we are an intricate pattern of people and opportunities. Those spaces between are coloured instead of the people themselves, as this is where wonderful interactions can take place. We all form part of the puzzle, which might at times pose as a maze, but none the less, creates a dynamic and vibrant city and country. We all have a valuable role to play.
This tram by Joceline Lee is informed by her Artist Residency in the Palaeontology Collection at the Melbourne Museum. The work presents us with her unique response to skeletons viewed by millions of Melburnians and visitors to this city. The artwork interprets the fragile nature of fossilised structures from both sketch models and physical configurations, playfully and authentically. Like intricate maps of tram networks, the lines of her skeletons intersect and traverse the page in parallel with concise detail and direction.
I am interested largely in portraying the urban environment and the social dynamics of how human beings interact with space or territories. I aim to do this through juxtaposing vibrantly coloured painted fields and figure groups. For this tram I have tried to create a painterly mobile palette that references in abstract ways, aspects of Melbourne’s environment of parks and bay.
The gold curtain refers to the poetic rhythm used by Shakespeare to construct verse, a repeated sequence based on the same timing as a heartbeat da-dum da-dum da-dum, it can of course have many variations to the heartbeat and so it’s expression like language is endless. The gold velvet theatre curtain wraps around the tram as a continuous and striking device to signal to the theatre of everyday life. The curtain frames a space of encounter.
IMAGE | James HH Morgan