Katanning The Artists
Perth artist Mel McVee is a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily in community art and murals. With a Fine Arts degree in sculpture, her interest in street art emerged through an interest in community activation projects in her local area. With a cartographic background in the environmental industry, she is fascinated by the way ‘the world can be shaped in absolutes’.
She uses solid colours and shapes to define an area, an idea, or a relationship, reflecting the stylisation seen in linocut prints or stain glass windows.
Her Katanning mural features the White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris niger) and the blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulate) moving among the bottle brushes: three species that are all native to the surrounding area. As well as being uniquely beautiful, they are also co-dependent.
‘The South West of Australia is one of 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. With a unique variety of species so fragile to surrounding pressures, being able to recognise their importance and conserve their existence is essential,’ says Mel.
Chris Nixon is an illustrator, designer, and creative director based in Perth. Inspired by the west coast and classic surf culture with an emphasis on the handmade and crafted, his textured work spreads across children’s books, animation, commercial illustration and design, to large scale public art.
Chris has created several large scale artworks that have been installed around Australia and internationally, including murals in Perth and Northam.
For his Katanning work, he says: ‘My design celebrates diversity, both in nature and in the community, using pattern and colour along with loose line work and textures, drawing inspiration from the wall itself, creating large markers for the site, which when balanced with diverse patterns form a cohesive design. The patterns reference different cultures represented in Katanning, while the form is dictated by large abstracted letters K and A which make up the abbreviated name of the town.’
Darren has a background in graphic design and illustration and has been working with young people from diverse backgrounds in communities across metropolitan and regional Western Australia for more than 15 years. Darren works in contemporary urban art and is influenced by the patterns and forms in nature, vintage commercial graphics and signage, album cover art, and comic and graphic novel design. As well as his work in Katanning, he painted a distinctive mural on the exterior of Albany Public Library in April 2016.
Tunisian Karim Jabbari is a globally acclaimed abstract calligraphy and lightgraff artist. His calligraphy uses different patterns, shapes, and colours featuring compositions of classic Kufi and Maghrebi script and reflect a strong pull towards his North African background as well as an effort to keep dying traditions alive. His lightgraff work articulates his love of Arabic letters, words, and syllables. Karim has created murals all over the world, in Albany, and in Perth.
He describes his Katanning mural as ‘a matrix using two Arabic letters that create an abstract background, revealing the beauty of this traditional form of writing, which is considered a heritage of humanity. Inserted in this matrix of letters is a message saying, ‘Katanning, the heart of the Great Southern’, celebrating the pioneering spirit and heritage of the town’.