Jim Stewart, Managing Director, Quadra Pacific Management Pty Ltd, had a vision to turn a wall into a mural representing original custodians and landowners of this region of Queensland, promoting ‘indigenous cultural origins to be always remembered, talked about and never forgotten’. Jim’s passion evolves from his origins of a small town called Chemainus in British Columbia Canada, where they celebrate the origins of Chermainus with mural culture.

Dylan Sarra, Artist, originates from the Bundaberg region and belongs to the Gooreng Gooreng people. Dylan’s indigenous art tells important stories that can shape our community for open learning and understanding into a positive future.
A shared passion of both Jim and Dylan to encourage public displays of indigenous cultural stories across the broader Australian community resulted in ‘The Connection’ – a never-before-seen 11m x 5m mural recognition project.

The building’s refurbishment was an opportunity to incorporate indigenous cultural origins with a reconciliation focus in line with Brisbane City Councils ‘more vibrant, creative city’. The application of an indigenous wall mural in the heart of Brisbane brings a focus to the amazing talents of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. ‘The Connection’ portrays a story that connects with all Australians and visitors alike, capturing a moment in time where a child discovers and connects and the effect it has on the human spirit as they engage and take a minute to understand the potential of the moment in a child’s life.

Raising indigenous cultural heritage awareness, and demonstrating communities working together has been the central focus of this project. The ability for industry to unite as one, create positive change and enable reflection on how life once was, is very encouraging for future reconciliation.
This initiative was able to overcome many challenges in its application and has provided an opportunity for business and government organisation to form a partnership in promoting awareness to aboriginal culture and has provided a rewarding and positive outcome for all involved.  The project directly involved 21 staff/volunteers from Quadra Pacific, Sarra Inc, TAFE Queensland Skills Tech, Likeminded Painters Australia and Todd Aitken Painting & Decorating. The project took 370 hours to complete with 110 hours in the planning, colour matching and mockups and 260 hours in the application.

The engagement of Dylan Sarra to paint a wall mural depicting the Brisbane landscape before habitation has had a positive impact to the surrounding area, beautifying the streetscape and providing a cultural Brisbane landmark and a point of interest for Brisbane residents, commuters, workers and visitors.

“Before I undertake any artistic endeavour it is crucial to have the narrative complete. This entails taking in the proposed site and its audience. The surrounding environment, time and place are just a couple of examples of what is considered. I personally identify as an indigenous artist and this is reflected into what I do. I feel that it is important to reflect on traditional culture from the past, but it is equally important to translate a positive future for indigenous Australians through messages of share care and respect, not just for ourselves but for everyone. I see this a potential strong point for the site on Mary street being that it is a great visual location to inspire conversation about what was.”

Artist Dylan Sarra with sponsors Clayton Coughlan (Likeminded Painters), Just Barlow (TAFE Qld), Todd Aitken (Painter & Decorator) and Max Lehmann (Worldskills Gold Medalist, Brisbane Region – Painting & Decorating)

Wall Mural in Progress

Completed Mural

Dylan Sarra, Sarra Inc, painted, ‘The Connection’, depicting the moment an Indigenous boy has his first interaction with the iconic Australian emu. The warm colours in the artwork enhance the silhouette of a small boy poised on the bush landscape as child and emu reach to make contact for the first time. The mix of vibrant red, orange and yellow colours reflecting the brilliance of our magical sunsets, creating a breathtaking and reflective piece of indigenous artwork.