New Outdoor Artwork for Churchill

Churchill & District Community Association (CDCA) has completed their latest project for the Churchill community.

Outdoor Table Art - Starting on nearly balnk table

A new picnic setting has been constructed and placed near the pathway that runs between McDonald Way and Northways Road, adjacent to the Eel Hole Creek Wetlands.

CDCA successfully applied for a grant from Latrobe City Council for this outdoor setting, and appreciate the support Council provides for community projects such as this.

Federation University owns this parcel of land and worked with CDCA to ensure that it was safely placed near the path, but well away from gum trees that may drop limbs.

Both Council and the University have supported CDCA efforts to enhance this area. A Memorial Seat (for local identity, Rob Whelan) was unveiled along the same pathway in March 2021.

The hardwood timber picnic setting was constructed at Churchill Men’s Shed. Facilitator of the Men’s Shed program, Theo Tewierik, oversaw the machining of the raw timber and construction of the very solid picnic setting.

Outdoor Table Art - Work in progress

Local builder and community volunteer, Jeff Kemp, organised the site – levelled the ground, poured the concrete slab, transported the picnic setting and firmly bolted it onto the slab.

CDCA is very grateful to local folk and community groups that are willing to help out.

The picnic setting has been painted by local Gunai artist, Ronald Edwards Pepper, who was also the artist engaged for CDCA’s Memorial Seat project.

Ronald has spent many hours designing the artwork that now decorates the picnic setting. The original base coat can hardly be seen under the colourful and intricate paint work that now covers the setting.

It has been finished with a couple of coats of a clear timber lacquer that will hopefully preserve this outdoor art work for some time.

Outdoor Table Art - Further progress

Ronald Edwards Pepper has become quite a well-known, award-winning indigenous artist, with gallery exhibits (including a recent exhibition at Federation Square in Melbourne) and a number of outdoor art projects at various locations around Latrobe City.

He describes his artwork as a mix of traditional and contemporary designs and techniques. Traditional line work, handprints and stars are often found in Ronald’s art, but painted in bright contemporary colours.

Through his artwork, Ronald aims to showcase indigenous culture and connections to country that have existed since the dreamtime.

Painting the picnic setting, Ronald began with circles to represent the towns of Latrobe that now exist in his local Gunai country. The circles are joined by lines that represent the paths that indigenous people walked to traverse country.

Circles are also representing meeting places, for people to meet, sit and have a yarn. The hand prints on the table-top are similar to traditional hand prints found in rock art; still here for the next generations to see.

Flecks of paint appear on the picnic setting, looking like stars in the night sky, representing an important source of indigenous knowledge and lore.

Although much of the colour used in Ronald’s artwork is not traditional, it reflects the wide array of gorgeous colours that are to be found in the natural landscapes, plants and animals of this beautiful and ancient land.

Outdoor Table Art - detail Outdoor Table Art - tabletop