The mural on the side of the Narrandera Bakery has proven to be a little polarising in the community, but it’s also doing its job, according to the Narrandera Shire Council and the owners and operators of the building where it is located. However, it has drawn the ire of some townspeople.
The idea behind the mural was for it to be a kick-start for more public art in Narrandera. The mural was not intended to be permanent and it was hoped that other businesses would decide to create or commission their own art to lift the appearance of the street. In the case of the Jensens, it’s done its job.
“A lot of people have asked if it was going to be coloured,” said Marg Jensen, who co-owns and operates the bakery business with her husband Nic. “The main comment was ‘is it finished?’. But I was talking to Nic about putting in a proper mural, because this one’s only temporary.”
The mural depicts native birds local to the area, and one of the most contentious points about the mural was the artists’ decision to leave the birds in black and white, only painting the eyes. The mural only has a limited shelf life of about six to eight months, according to Ms Jensen.
Public opinion about the mural has been occasionally vehement in its opposition, but Ms Jensen says that the mural on the wall has inspired her, her husband and the building’s owner John Foster to look into a more permanent fixture. Mr Foster said he was happy with the mural.
“One thing about what’s there now is that it won’t be there forever. When that one goes we’ll put something else in there. It will be ongoing. It’s a start, and we’ll keep it going.”
Ms Jensen agreed, adding that she was inspired by some of the ‘silo art’ that had taken off around the region. “After this one’s gone I will try to do something. I was hoping we could do something like what Ganmain’s got. I would do something permanent and now I’m trying to find someone local who does murals.”
Mr Foster said he was keen to look into finding a local indigenous artist who might design something for the building.
“We can look at hiring someone local, at incorporating business art with something different. We even thought about extending the mural further around the wall and into the laneway. Just to have something bright will really lift the street.”
“There’s not as much colour as we thought, but that’s how the artist sees it. It doesn’t matter what we put there, we’re not going to please everybody. People look at art differently, and some people don’t like art at all,” Mr Foster said. “It’s got people stopping and talking and thinking.”
“A few people have stopped and looked at it a bit dumbfounded,” said Ms Jensen. “But some have stopped and taken photos.”