By Tanya Steele
First Nations artist Aimee McCartney’s art, alongside many others, will feature on the Dindi Arts Trail which launched at the end of March.
Ms McCartney is a proud Taungurung and Wurundjeri woman and was excited to be asked to be involved in such a large and interesting project.
“Usually I only work on canvas or burning kangaroo skin, the mural area was something that I had never explored before,” she said.
A meandering drive through forest and sky in Kinglake now reveals pops of colour in large murals painted on water tanks and walls across the region.
The Ngarrak Yilam or the Mountain Range Home mural by Ms McCartney has just been finished and sits alongside Kirrily Anderson’s work.
The contour lines of the mural highlight the steep mountain range, Ngarrak surrounding the Kinglake area and Taungurung people’s connection with the landscape and their knowledge, customs and traditions.
Ms McCartney was approached by Taungurong Elder Christine Moore to paint the murals throughout Kinglake after she saw her work on social media.
Both of Ms McMcartney’s works are vivid and strong, with connecting themes around community and place.
“I wanted it to be bright and bold and for people to see it and I wanted to invoke a sense of joy when you look at it because of the colours,” she said.
“The community can take pride and joy in knowing that where this mural was painted always was and always will be community driven.”
Ms McCartney is looking forward to participation from the community in examining the paintings and discovering what the patterns and images represented in them mean.
“It’s just really exciting to be a part of that project, because then it allows the next generation to know that it is possible to be able to take your story, your family’s story, your community story, on a fixed building that will be there for years to come.”
Kinglake is a culturally significant place for the Wurundjeri and Taungurung peoples, it is a gathering place that has been used for thousands of generations.
The same site today is used for sporting activities, markets, and Anzac Day memorials and so continues to hold great importance for the Kinglake community.
Whilst painting the murals Ms Mcartney was often approached by locals in the area that were excited by her work and she loved talking about her painting with them.
“The people that visited the space whilst I was there were saying the blue for them represented the sky,” she said.
The Dindi Arts Trail was developed and contributed to by residents across the Kinglake Ranges to represent the cultural identity of the place they call home and has created an outdoors art gallery for all to enjoy.
It features work by Jimmi Buscombe, Kirrily Anderson, Tim Bowtell, Barbara Hauser, Geoffrey Carran, Aimee McCartney, Uncle Mick Harding and local artists Ilze Cant, Tim Honey and Ruby Parr.
There are murals featuring poet CJ Dennis and a historical scene of a bullock team crossing the river at Yea.
Barbara Joyce, project manager of the Dindi arts trail is happy to bring the artwork to the already beautiful natural area.
“It’s really the icing on the cake, it’s bringing joy and beauty and celebration to the Kingake Range,” she said.
There are six mural sites with thirteen murals located around Kinglake and Toolangi and a final mural will be painted during the remainder of this year by a local primary school.