Original artist breathes new life into Mirrabooka mural 24 years on

Mural artist Steve Cross. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Mural artist Steve Cross. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

MIRRABOOKA’S “iconic,” once condemned mural has been given a facelift by the same artist who originally painted it 24 years ago.

Artist Steve Cross worked on the new mural entitled Shaping the Future, with Balga Senior High School students, whose faces are painted along the Sudbury Road and Yirrigan Drive artwork.

“There are 24 different backgrounds in these children’s faces on the mural; Syrian, Filipino, Vietnamese, kids from Greece,” Cross said.

“The central feature of the wall is traditional owner and Nyungah elder Doolann-Leisha Eatts.

“The point that they are all different colours is to show that it doesn’t matter what ethnic background you are, it is a very multicultural and colourful community.”

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Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman campaigned for the restoration of the mural since 2013, and attempted to heritage list the mural when it was announced the wall was structurally unsound and would be condemned.

“I’m really pleased that (Housing Authority) came on board grateful they didn’t knock down the original wall and actually restored it,” Ms Freeman said.

“It is an iconic piece of Mirrabooka; we need to do more of this sort of work to celebrate our history of being an inclusive and rich community.

“It really embraces all the different waves of migration, people just want to live and flourish together; Mirrabooka has a proud history of that.”

Cross said he had been approached by people who remembered him painting the original mural

“A man passing by was telling me he remembered the boy that painted it and I said ‘yeah that was me!’” he said.

“It’s been the most involved wall I’ve ever painted; the families have come down to see their kids being painted on to the wall, everyone seems to know the kids in the class.

“When I first painted the wall it wasn’t this multicultural it was completely different.

“The wall evolved each time a face was painted, it was very spontaneous.”

With 53 per cent of the population born overseas, Mirrabooka was identified as the 13th most diverse suburb in Australia in the 2011 census.