Art Pharmacy is pleased to announce Blak Douglas’s mural Route Canal for one of Australia’s leading property groups, Goodman.
Art Pharmacy was engaged to commission a visually striking large-scale mural on the corner of Southend Distribution Centre, Alexandria NSW, as part of a larger redevelopment public art strategy.
Taking into account the history of Alexandria and the site’s proximity to the Alexandria Canal – a historically significant location for the Gadigal people – Art Pharmacy proposed the art narrative ‘Creek to Canal’ to acknowledge the importance of waterways to the Gadigal people. The art narrative was inspired by the transformation of Shea’s Creek (today known as the Alexandria Canal), which was an abundant resource and meeting place for the Gadigal people, into the canal that was implemented during the Second Industrial Revolution.
Koori artist and Winner of the 2022 Archibald Prize, Blak Douglas, designed and implemented a 12m high and 50m long mural treatment. The mural can now be viewed from West Connex’s Gardners Road entry and exit roads as well as surrounding parklands.
The final artwork, titled ‘Route Canal’, depicts an abstract First Nations map featuring the clans of the ‘Sydney’ basin represented by the blue and green circles. The brown and yellow ochre squares reference the local sandstone country. The grey linear pattern symbolises the ‘route’ or intentional journey that the canal has taken from being a creek in history to a canal in modernity, as well as reflecting on the journey of the viewers, passing by on their cars on the way to a destination.
This linear pattern also represents the concrete canal, that has abrasively replaced the organic and spiritual formations of the natural adjacent waterway, Shea’s Creek. The red ochre motifs are the local Gadigal family groups camped along the route of the creek. This art activation starts from the bottom of the walls to echo the contemporary urban street art culture. The negative space left around the design elements is important to highlight the building itself and the layered history of the site.
Eye-catching yet historically respectful, this art mural treatment will provide a source of wonder, inspiration and connection to passersby driving along Gardeners Road for generations to come.
Blak Douglas is a contemporary artist with proud Dhungutti Aboriginal origins. His works are culturally and politically charged, with a sense of sarcasm and a unique vision of Australia’s history and current social inequities. Blak Douglas is a four-time Archibald Prize finalist and winner of the Archibald Prize in 2022.
Blak Douglas was awarded Newcastle Art Gallery’s 2019 Kilgour Prize. He has been a finalist in major art prizes including the Wynne Prize, Blake Prize, Mosman Art Prize, Paddington Art Prize, Muswellbrook Art Prize and Fishers Ghost Art Award among others.