By Meg Kennedy
The Myrniong Mechanics Institute now features an escape to the African wilderness.
A new mural by local artist Denise Hastings has recently been unveiled, which features paintings of various African animals; from elephants and lions, to birds and monkeys roaming in the grass.
Ms Hastings, whose work is also displayed in the Helen MacPherson Smith residential care facility, says the idea for the painting came from an endeavor to “make the room more child friendly”.
“I said, ‘the cupboards are pretty boring, why don’t we do a mural on them?’…and the rest of the committee said ‘go for it’,” she said.
Ms Hastings explained the African animal theme was chosen for the wall as “children in the country not being able to go to the zoo often”.
“Because this is a country area where cockatoos, wallabies, kangaroos and wombats are common, we ruled them out”, she said.
“The idea was early wet season on the Masai Mara (National Reserve in Kenya), and children had a say in the animals chosen. We used baby animals as well as adult animals, small and large.”
For the design of the wall, Ms Hastings explains that the animals were taken from sketches that were made on various trips to the zoo with her son Philip, and her grandchild, and these were supplemented by photographs.
“I loathe painting directly from photos, and the committee and friends gave me freedom to design the mural”, she said.
“It was a fun project”.
Myrniong Mechanics Institute President, Mark Powell, said the plans for the mural had originated around 15 years ago.
“It’s terrific for the kids…and it’s certainly a talking point, as it’s used by a lot of play groups and school groups”.
Although the hall doesn’t currently have any plans for more art, Mr Powell said more art in the hall could appear sometime in the near future.
“Although that’s it for now, we would certainly love to support the local art community”, he said.
Ms Hastings thanked Wilson’s Home Timber and Hardware in Bacchus Marsh, who donated the paint to complete the project, and the Myrniong Hall Committee for their support and patience.