What Bird Is/Was That?

Keim Mineral Silicate on Sandstock Brick
Nickson St, Surry Hills, Sydney
This is the second version of the first project of the NIC NAC Community Artist-in-Residence 1981 for Surry Hills. This second version responds to three windows being introduced into the wall. Originally it was a painted mural on the Northern wall of 6 Nickson Street facing the park in Edgely Street. It depicts an Australian bushland setting, suggesting an extension of the park.

The basic concept of the mural is one of ‘camouflage’ whereby the existing white wall would be painted in such a way as to make it merge with the surrounding trees, grass and sky. The actual painting of the wall took longer than envisaged, but this is attributed more to the increased involvement of the resident community requesting a higher degree of realism and a great number of birds and animals; the population of the mural comprises forty birds, covering thirty-one species as well as four dogs and a cat.

This mural project facilitated the beginning of ‘bridging the gap’ between the two distinct groups in Edgely Street and the top end of Nickson Street, a process which will probably now develop of its own accord for a greater use of the intervening park space by the residents as a meeting place has developed.

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