Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre continues to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 with amazing resilience - adapting and growing future opportunities and supporting the local community. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have focused on keeping the art centre open and engaging in several community building activities, all while adhering to strict social distancing measures.
The most enjoyable activity was painting large-scale murals on the outside walls of the art centre and local store. At least 40 community members and local school children contributed to the murals, while many other community members sat and enjoyed watching the murals come to be, sharing traditional totems and stories. One of the murals is a rendition of the Brydes Whale. One of these whales washed up on the local beach last year, and while it was a tragic event, the community pulled together caring for it and easing its suffering. Celebrating this amazing totem in a mural was a way to help the community process their shared experience. The artists believe that while making artwork to sell is important, making artwork that stays in the community and becomes a community landmark and source of pride and identity is more valuable.
The Pormpuraaw police also asked artists whether they would consider making artwork to decorate their police car as they had seen in other communities. The artists saw this request as a privilege and a way to give back to the police for everything they do for the local community. The police suggested artwork that was rectangular to fit on two car doors. Several artists worked together to paint a large-scale work and the result was a painting of fish and sea animals in fluorescent paint. The police loved the work and the art centre team found someone in Cairns to transfer it onto a magnetic decal. It’s a real buzz for the artists to see the police driving around in a car displaying their work.
Pormpuraaw has also been working on artwork to display for CIAF, DAAF and other events planned for the year. They have focused on what they do best and have built a reputation on, including large sculptures of fish totems made from ghost net and found materials, print making and painting. The artists believe their years of practice and development are paying off and they are making their finest works yet. We can’t wait to see them!
Main image credit: Kim Norman with his Coral Trout. Image: Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre