Wimbo Paddock (detail)

In   |  
Wimbo Park, Bourke St. Surry Hills

The aim of the project was to involve some of the large aged population of Surry Hills in community life and art. The mosaic medium was selected because it became obvious that elderly people generally weren’t skilled or happy in handling paint or a brush, etc. The concept for the mural has been workshopped with ethnic and Anglo Australian groups and it appeared that a natural setting was preferred incorporating an indication of the history of the plot of land.

A pointillist style painting was executed as a guide to work from and local distributors of floor and wall tiles were asked to donate their old, unsaleable, stock. These donated tiles were broken up and sorted into colours; the aged and not so aged residents were keen to sit around cracking up tiles with pliers, talking and having cups of tea.

The mural mosaic is approximately 4.35m long and 1.80m in height and composed of glass tiles with hard cementitious grout. It is mounted on a purpose-built brick wall, the rear side of which is fully buttressed, mounted on a concrete slab. The wall is finished with a grey cement render. The rear face of the wall is painted. It is understood from discussion with the artist that the mosaic is applied to a rendered surface that had been applied over the brickwork. The mosaic is recessed into the front face of the wall with a border of approximately 250mm around all four sides.

In 1992 a developer illegally demolished the mural and the community were outraged. As a result of meetings with South Sydney Council, the work was reinstated in 1993. The Melbourne Mural Studio assisted in the creation of version two, which was constructed from Italian smalti.

The mosaic was once again faced with relocation in 2017, as a result of the Eastern Suburbs light rail which would run right through the middle of it. A conservation team dismantled the work, and it is currently in storage with the City of Sydney awaiting a new home within close-proximity of the original site.