Griffith University student and alumni artists have brought colour and creativity to Nathan campus with a series of eye-catching murals.
Students from the Queensland College of Art (QCA) LiveArt program created colourful wall paintings in the Arrivals Plaza and N65 undercroft, alongside a large-scale work by QCA First Nations alumnus Warraba Weatherall.
The artworks are the first part of a larger-scale redevelopment of Nathan Campus before the University’s 50th anniversary in 2025.
Third-year Bachelor of Visual Arts student Niamh Flynn designed the artwork ‘Growing Here’ that adorns the Arrivals Plaza.
The artwork pays tribute to the native floral shapes and colours in the bushland surrounding Nathan campus, and puts the natural environment front and centre.
Based on key plants found on the ‘Grows at Griffith’ app, it is also a metaphor for Griffith as a place of personal growth and learning.
“It’s a whole different thing to have our work out in the world – it’s mind-blowing knowing that thousands of people are going to see my design every day,” Niamh said.
“Theory has its place, but it’s great to get the chance to do this kind of large-scale, hands-on work.”
Fellow QCA student Daniella Louvel was one of the students who collaborated on a colourful abstract work in the common area at the base of the N65 Science Link building.
Featuring outstretched hands and abstract flora, it symbolises the diversity of the campus community and the University’s natural surrounds.
“This was a really different experience – instead of working on a piece that will go up on the wall of a gallery, you have the whole building as your canvas and you get a chance to work together as one.” Daniella said.
“We learned how to deal with the logistics of the site, working around signage, creating designs that complement the curves of the building and interacting with the public.
“It’s great to transform the space and make people feel good about the place they study and work in.”
“We’ve also picked up practical skills that will help us after we graduate, like training on the elevated platform and lifts.”
Queensland College of Art public art lecturer Dr Simon Degroot said the activations on campus created professional opportunities for students across a host of disciplines.
“This course gives students the opportunity to kickstart their careers.”
“It’s so valuable, because students are able to build on the skills that they learn in the classroom and studio.
“The students have also been able to learn from one another – we have design students, fine arts students, all at different points in their career.
“Each time we do a public art course there are micro credentials embedded, so students get bespoke skills and a collaborative experience they can apply to their own work and research.”
Queensland College of Art alumnus and lecturer Warraba Weatherall created the ‘Kaggur-madul’ mural on the Library’s eastern wall.
The striking work celebrates First Peoples’ histories and features an echidna and grass trees from the Toohey Forest.
“I like the fact that everyone has access to public artwork like this on campus,” he said.
“We’re making sure that there is a cultural element that First Nations students can identify with and helping increase people’s cultural knowledge of the area.
“There is power in that. Art can help start conversations and change the world little by little.”
Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) and Head of Nathan campus Professor David Grant said the public art installations had made a tangible difference to the look and feel of campus.
“It’s important that our spaces encourage a sense of belonging, inclusivity and inspiration and embody our mission and values.”