Everyone is heading to northern Australia at this time of year, escaping the cold wintery conditions of the south, and this year in particular there are more people than ever travelling.
I’ve written a recent piece for CamperMate on the journey north which is dubbed, The Explorers Way, which you can read about here. For interest sake I did a tally as we were travelling for part of the trip and in just a one hour section of the journey, I counted 92 caravans / camper trailers / holiday makers heading north! I can certainly see the appeal and even though it seems extremely busy, there are plenty of free camping options and road side parking areas to enjoy the trip.
We travelled from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin Northern Territory with plenty of adventures along the way of our total round trip of over 7,000 kilometres. Darwin is a highlight in itself, such a different city to any other in Australia and even finding street art there brought out more of its unique character.
Darwin has an annual Street Art Festival which was first launched in 2017 with 8 murals painted in the city. Every year since then has seen around 16 or more murals added to the mix and this year the festival is on again from 30 August to 10 September.
These works of art are easy to find in a few streets and laneways in the city including Austin Lane, Bennett Street, West Lane and Knuckey Street. They are all close to the Darwin shopping mall, so it’s an easy stroll around to find them.
A few of my favourites are these:
The artist Elle has created this stunning collage style of images which shows her passion for the environment and feminism. The woman central to the image is a collage of aboriginal faces representing the Larrakia people, with one eye being that of a Chinese woman to represent the influx of Chinese people during the gold rush period. Local flora and a common bird in the Territory, a black kite, also feature in the mural.
Gurrumul by Andrew Bourke and Jesse Bell, and a piece by Wendy Yunupingu
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was an aboriginal musician who passed away in 2017. His hauntingly beautiful voice and songs sung in his language are a great legacy to our country as is this mural which was painted with permission of his family. The background features some of the lyrics of his songs. Next to it is a piece of traditional aboriginal design by Wendy Yunupingu.
Adding some brilliant colour to a long wall is this abstract style piece which was painted by Phibs. Using a colour palette as seen in Darwin sunsets the artist was inspired by the diverse flora and fauna of the Northern Territory.
The artist Kaff-eine has created this beautiful artwork of a Sistagirl, the indigenous name for a transgender person.
In the same laneway you’ll find this beautiful turtle and jellyfish mural by Hafleg, a Darwin born and raised Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri man. It shows his specialty of creating murals using traditional and contemporary designs. He has also created a stunning piece nearby which features Barramundi.
Two pieces that complement each other are by artists Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton and Sofles. CTO painted the aboriginal man representing the peoples connection to land and the spirit realms. It shows their connection to earth, water, sky and beyond and next to it is a mud crab in the collage and abstract style of Sofles.
A humourous mural which sums up the humidity of Darwin was painted by Vincent Poke, a Darwin based artist. The dripping skull shows what it’s like to live through the humidity build up in the top end, prior to the wet season.
This bright and informative piece is by Jason Lee, a Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri man, and it depicts the seven main seasons of the indigenous calendar. It makes far more sense in Australia than our western four seasons, by taking notice of what happens seasonally with our native plants, animals and weather.
Another indigenous art piece is by Dion Beasley who’s painting of camp dogs depicts his family and the country he grew up on, in the Tennant Creek area.
Polly Johnstone is a Northern Territory based artist and this painting is of the NT floral emblem, the Desert Rose which is tolerant to drought and other extreme conditions and it is highlighted beautifully with the yellow building behind it.
The final one (for this blog anyway) is by Portuguese artist Odeith. He created this on his first trip to Darwin and he wanted to do something truly Australian. What better than a kangaroo and joey! This is one to find in Darwin to get that must have photo for Instagram.