Council has engaged the Womens Art Register to research and develop the first stage of a Documentation Project on the Smith Street Womens Mural, also known as Bomboniere to Barbed Wire.
The artists who produced the mural, Megan Evans and Eve Glenn, are interested in the idea of a publication that documents the development of the original mural, the women celebrated in the mural, as well as the recent commentary and interactions on the site. The original mural project began with community consultations during 1985 – 1986 by the artists, who spoke with women in Northcote and Preston over a period of several months. Megan and Eve then translated these conversations and photos into an impressive 50 m x 12 m high cacophony of local women’s images celebrating the cultural diversity of the area.
While graffiti had covered the mural for years at footpath level, the artwork was damaged on a much larger scale when it was “capped” or vandalized with large letters spelling NOST in February 2016, which covered a large portion of the original mural and portraits of the women within the painting. Following significant community interest in the future of the Womens Mural, Council consulted with and facilitated the artists to undertake a response to coincide with International Womens Day in March. Since then, the wall has become an evolving space for artists and the public to make a mark/statement and to repoliticise the space in response to the recent act of vandalism, the destruction of a much loved Feminist mural and the ongoing importance of recognising women for their achievements and diversity.
The Womens Art Register will soon start on consultations with the community and key stakeholders through this website to gather stories and other ephemera and offerings, such as photos and anecdotes. Over the next six months, they will research the story of the mural in depth, photograph the ongoing interventions by the public, the exploration of the mural’s context within the history of street murals and art (using their impressive archives and networks) and also determine the best format for documentation, whether website, publication or film.
This is expected to be completed by December, with the aim for have a final plan ready to seek further funding in early 2017 to produce the project.
For any queries or contributions, please contact Danielle Hakim or Sally Northfield at the Women’s Art Register:
Image: Courtesy of Megan Evans.