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Turning graffitied wall into positive for community

COLLABORATION: INTRA Youth Service’s Paul Phillips, Aboriginal artist Lewis Henson and Senior Constable Lisa Paice, youth case manager at PCYC Lismore, have been working on a mural with Goonellabah kids. Inset is the public PRIDE mural near the transit centre in Lismore.
COLLABORATION: INTRA Youth Service’s Paul Phillips, Aboriginal artist Lewis Henson and Senior Constable Lisa Paice, youth case manager at PCYC Lismore, have been working on a mural with Goonellabah kids. Inset is the public PRIDE mural near the transit centre in Lismore. Luke Mortimer Marc Stapelberg

MADE by the community, for the community.

That's how INTRA Youth Service's Paul Phillips sees the latest graffiti mural laid down by artists and kids in Goonellabah.

"I come up here to pick clients up and I noticed the wall was terribly graffitied," he said.

"I thought it would be great to do something with this community. The only people who'll really see this one are the people who live here.

"This way, they can take ownership of the space.

"We've asked Lewis to help the kids learn dot painting, to make it all look fresh and blend with the mural. A blend of ancient and modern."

The work, located at Eggins Place on the previously vandalised back wall of Coles, featured an Aboriginal flag and aspects of ancient indigenous art, combined with modern graffiti designs.

Local indigenous artist Lewis Henson was heavily involved in the project, which was also overseen by Lismore PCYC youth care manager Lisa Paice.

Mr Phillips, a psychotherapist by trade, was proud to see the artwork nearing completion - late last week teens were learning dot painting ahead of their contribution to the project.

He noted they accompanied INTRA Youth Service's completed murals at the Lismore Transit Centre, Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council, the back of Officeworks and outside Riverside Health Studio.

"Businesses can have trouble keeping a blank wall, so art like this really helps address that problem," Mr Phillips said.

"I call our group Virtues Crew - where we'll change the view of youth by turning a negative into a positive.

"Every time we do one we sign off with a virtue, like pride, respect or honour.

"It's a good way to include the young people so they feel like they actually contributed, but it's not whack, they actually contributed in a direct way."

Local kids were keen to learn about Aboriginal dot painting from artistic mentors, while keeping busy during the school holidays.

INTRA Youth Service is a confidential education and intervention service operating in the Northern Rivers for people aged from 12-24.

Topics:  community graffiti lismore youth services



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