INDIGENOUS artist Badger Bates wants the community to take ownership of his riverfront project by helping to create his concept.
Artist Badger Bates at work on his public art piece and with, below, Christie Centre’s ArtRageUs participants Luke Hudson, Joel Milne, Matt Reyne and Bec Gale. Pictures: Louise Donges
The Kurnu Barkandji artist has begun work on a major public art piece, featuring two mosaic seats in circle formation with a sculpture in the middle, near the wharf at the Mildura riverfront.
While it was his design, Bates wanted the work – titled Memories – to belong to everyone, with community members of all ages assisting to piece the tile mosaic together.
“Yes I’m the artist, but I’m trying to give the people of Mildura ownership, so it’s theirs,” he said.
Willing participants from the Christie Centre’s ArtRageUs studio were on site this week to lend a hand affixing tiles to the seats.
Bates has also enlisted the help of his granddaughter, nieces and other family members while children from the nearby skatepark have contributed in the past few days.
“There was a couple of young fellas the other day come over and help … I go and talk to them and ask if they want to take part and help out,” Bates said.
A French tourist couple, who planned to visit Uluru, made their mark on the mosaic by adding two tiles cut in the shape of hearts.
Bates added he would explain the mosaic work to each visitor and, due to the intermittent process, expected it would take several weeks to complete.
“It’s a bit slower this way but I don’t mind, as long the community come down and join in, that’s what I want,” he said.
Bates said the art piece itself was a meeting place, shaped by memories of the people and landscapes of Mildura.
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