Kathy Stavrou, original artist of the Allsop Park mural in Cullen St, Nimbin, gets a helping hand from Liz Johnson of the Kangoulu Birridubbi people and Cec Roberts of the Widjabul people to enhance the map.
Kathy Stavrou, original artist of the Allsop Park mural in Cullen St, Nimbin, gets a helping hand from Liz Johnson of the Kangoulu Birridubbi people and Cec Roberts of the Widjabul people to enhance the map. Cathy Adams

Murals deserve a little TLC

THE iconic Allsop Park mural in Nimbin is Kathy Stavrou’s baby.

She conceived the idea of establishing a map of the Nimbin region in the form of a mural in 1990 and, after persistent pleas to the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, she finally got her wish.

Now, two decades on, Mrs Stavrou is still caring for the mural and ensuring its restoration is a priority.

Nimbin artist Liz Johnson and a group of community members touched up the mural in the town’s centre yesterdayMrs Stavrou said the chamber was working towards setting up a Nimbin murals restoration project, which would target the countless artistic and historic works of art around the town.

“This is part of a wider vision, because the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce and I have been campaigning for years for a Nimbin murals restoration project,” she said.

“The project will include the maintenance and restoration of murals and their infrastructure and the installation of new ones.

“I envisage getting a series of Aboriginal murals in town run by the traditional owners. There are a lot of Aboriginal people in Nimbin from different tribes and any new mural could be organised from the people here.

“This is the first action of the project, so it is vital.”

After coming to Nimbin as a “communist-raised hippy” in the late 1970s, Mrs Stavrou admitted she was a little ignorant of Aboriginal practices when she initially painted the mural.

“I wanted to have Aboriginal place names, but little did I know we cannot just go and do that because the language is sacred,” she said.

“As the years went by, I met with the elders of the Widjabul tribe and they gave me permission to use the Aboriginal names.

“Then Liz called me and said, ‘let’s finish it off’.”

A well-respected community member and accomplished artist, Ms Johnson said the mural blended the symbols of the traditional land owners with Australia’s European heritage.

“The mural represents the multicultural and multinational community in Nimbin,” the Kangoulu and Birridubbi tribe member said.

“I have been an artist all my life and I was fortunate enough to be born into a family of artists who knew and cared for their identity.

“There has been a bit of a slump in the community lately, but everyone is coming back to help out.

“We need to forget about the controversies and bring the community together.”

Rainbow Power Company and Nimbin Aquarius Foundation Inc are also working with the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce to get the restoration project up and running.



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