MercyCare / News / Aboriginal murals spark curiosity and joy at MercyCare Early Learning Centres

Aboriginal murals spark curiosity and joy at MercyCare Early Learning Centres

MercyCare commissioned Perth-based Indigenous artist Brian Blatchford of BKB Design to paint a series of murals across its Early Learning Centres, with two completed at Ballajura and Bassendean.

“We wanted the designs to reflect our community, our families, our outdoor spaces and acknowledge Aboriginal culture respectfully,” MercyCare Early Learning Mission and Quality Project Lead Courtney Barnard said.

“They create a beautiful welcome statement for families and are going to be a great talking point, where we can really spark curiosity in the children and then scaffold their learning. If a child is interested in the artwork and asks about it, then that provides a great platform to have a yarn and spark a conversation about Aboriginal culture.

“We also wanted to ensure we give back to the community and employ an Aboriginal artist. In Brian Blatchford we found an amazing talent who just shows such pride in every piece of artwork he does.”

The mural project is part of MercyCare Early Learning Services focus on Aboriginal Pathways to increase knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal culture. The Early Learning team worked with MercyCare’s Aboriginal Pathway Lead to ensure the work being done respected Aboriginal traditions.

Each of the artworks have a similar theme with a yarning circle and nest which represent the centre and the children who attend. Then with input from staff, each mural is individualised to reflect the local community.

Two of the planned five murals are currently complete, with Ballajura and Bassendean the first to be delighted with the designs.

At MercyCare Ballajura Early Learning Centre, the massive 6-metre-long by 2-metre-high mural reflects the birds that visit the yard, taking advantage of the thriving vegetable patch and mature trees. Represented are koolbardi (magpie), djidi djidi (willy wag tail) and bandin (honeyeater). The footprints represent those of the children and the journey they take through early education.

At MercyCare Bassendean Early Learning Centre, a mural overlooks the sandpit and fort, reflecting the proximity of the Centre to Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River), showing the river and the animals the centre’s three rooms are named after – yongka (kangaroo), kweeyar (frog) and yakkan (turtle).

The murals have been designed with bright colours and animal designs to appeal to children, while remaining traditional and respectful of culture.