South West Multicultural Festival theme brings Noongar youth into focus with ‘Goolambidi’ mural

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
This is the second year The Papa Giuseppe and Hope Perth have created a mural for the South West Multicultural Festival.
Camera IconThis is the second year The Papa Giuseppe and Hope Perth have created a mural for the South West Multicultural Festival. Credit: Supplied

A chance meeting and shared passion for art have helped bring the theme of the 2022 South West Multicultural Festival to life.

The main stage at this Saturday’s festival will feature a 10m wide and 2.5m high mural of a young artist from the region to highlight this year’s theme — Goolambidi — the Noongar word for youth.

Last year the two artists painted a mural of four women from the festival committee with the theme of “Belong”, a statement about what the festival represents for the ever-growing multicultural community in the South West.

This year the committee wanted to focus on a different part of the community, which a series of serendipitous meetings helped bring to life.

The Papa Giueseppe and Hope Perth were working on a youth engagement art project in Greenbushes where they met eight-year-old Mahlia Bell, who had already discovered a love of all things art.

After the project had wrapped up Mahlia’s grandmother, Charmaine Wilson, approached the two artists to ask them to paint a portrait of Mahlia.

The request came at the time the festival committee had been discussing a way to highlight Aboriginal youth for the festival as a way of bringing into focus the future custodians of the South West boodjar.

“It is fantastic to be able to represent a different part of the community this year,” The Papa Giueseppe said.

“Meeting Mahlia, and then speaking to her grandmother right at the time the committee was looking to draw focus to this portion of the multicultural community — it seemed like an organic process.

“It just felt right.”

Festival coordinator Jo O’Dea said the committee was keen to explore youth and indigenous culture in this year’s mural and jumped at the chance to feature a local person.

“This is the second year The Papa Giuseppe and Hope Perth have collaborated on a work for the festival,” Mrs O’Dea said.

“Their combined vision and concepts are more than just a stage design, but rather their work encompasses themes that convey positive messages of belonging and youth.

“We feel so privileged to be able to incorporate faces of our local community that embody these themes in such a beautiful and respectful way.”

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