International mural artists set to bring Port Adelaide streets alive

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By Melissa Keogh

International artists will descend upon Port Adelaide late next month to transform more of the Port’s blank walls into vibrant works of art.

Three-day festival Wonderwalls Port Adelaide, in conjunction with The Big Picture Fest, will attract world class street artists to transform bland walls throughout the town centre into striking art installations, to be celebrated publicly from March 29–31.

Wonderwalls Port Adelaide, which has been held biennially since 2015, transforming key sites such as the Marine and Harbors building on St Vincent Street, and Harts Mill into colourful attractions. More than 70 artists have taken part in past festivals.

Four visiting international artists Sat One (Rafael Gerlach) of Germany, Peeta (Manuel Di Rita) of Italy, Akue 1 of Russia and husband and wife duo Diva and Phat 1 (Charles and Janine Williams) of New Zealand, will begin painting their creations a few days before the festival on March 25 before finishing a week later on March 31.

If this mural by New Zealand artists Diva and Phat 1 is anything to go by, the 2019 Port Adelaide creation is set to be stunning.

South Australia’s finest street and mural artists Sarah Boese, 10TKL and Dave Court will represent the local creative space.

Organisers say the 2017 event drew more than 20,000 visitors across one weekend.

Fellow SA mural artist Joel Van Moore, better known as Vans the Omega, is Wonderwalls’ creative director and says the festival grows from strength to strength each year, with 2019 shaping up to be more impressive than ever.

“Wonderwalls brings together some of the world’s most highly acclaimed street artists to work alongside Adelaide’s finest and encourages local creatives to exceed in their endeavours,” he says.

A number of events will unfold throughout the festival, including welcome parties, art walks, and photographic tours and workshops. Pirate Life Brewery will also celebrate with music festival, A Day on the Cans, on Saturday March 30.

Onlookers watch artist Smug complete his wall during the 2015 Wonderwalls Festival.

Former Art Gallery of SA director Nick Mitzevich, who now heads up the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, is fond of Wonderwalls and says it has transformed Port Adelaide into a museum without walls.

“Bringing mural artists from around the world to the Port demonstrates that art is no longer about the edifice,” he says.

“Art can be everywhere. This is not a new point to make, in fact, in many ways it’s a reminder of the essential role that art has played for most of history.”

Wonderwalls is run in conjunction with The Big Picture Fest, an independent mural festival run by Joel Van Moore and mainly focused on small-scale festivals and the growing hunger for mural work in regional towns and cities.

The four international artists painting at Wonderwalls will also tour The Big Picture Fest in Franklin, Victoria, from March 22–24. The Big Picture Fest came to Adelaide during the SA Living Artists (SALA) festival last year, as well as Port Pirie on SA’s Yorke Peninsula.

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