MURAL COMMISSION – Flourish: Story Of A Diaspora
In April 2020, Katherine Gailer partnered up with Brimbank City Council’s ‘Creative Brimbank’ initiative to create the stunning mural ‘Flourish: Story of a Diaspora’ in Stark Place, Sunshine. The mural is a homage to the local Australian African community and recognising their contribution to the Brimbank community. “The focal point of the moral is the brilliant gaze of this strong African Australian woman, embracing her feminine identity and discovering her power”, explains Katherine. “The inclusion of birds and butterflies are a symbol of transformation, migration, and the connection to our community and natural environment.”
Katherine consulted with the western suburbs African women’s group, Kontiki Cultural Women Empowerment, to ensure the mural was culturally appropriate and to gain approval from the local Australian African community. “We are very pleased with the mural, it gives us a sense of identity and ownership and happy it shows our community in a positive light”, commented Project Manager, Francess Sesay . “The mural has had a really positive response from the community. We are looking to commission more murals and hope it will attract people to Brimbank especially with projects like the Sunshine Station Superhub,” said Michael Shiell, Brimbank City Council’s Visual and Public Art Senior Officer. “Brimbank sees murals like Katherine’s piece as an important part of inclusivity and diversity of art for the community.
Stories of diaspora and new contemporary identities are constantly flourishing around the world while reclaiming the essential connection to the place we inhabit. This mural composition mixes contemporary elements and traditional portraiture creating a theatrical scene inviting the viewers to appreciate the beauty of diversity through a poetic narrative. The artwork portrays an Afro-descendant woman surrounded by textiles in movement. Butterflies and birds are incorporated as a symbol of transformation, migration, and the connection to our natural environment. The brilliant gaze of a strong woman giving birth to change and renewal becomes the focal point of this piece; which is something that often characterises Gailer’s work – the portrayal of a diverse woman embracing a liberated feminine identity and discovering their power.