Bridge becomes a canvas for Ngukurr artists

A vibrantly coloured mural created by students from Ngukurr School has transformed the underside of the high-level bridge spanning the Roper River.

The 10-metre long mural, decorating a bridge support, took years 2 to 12 students two days to paint, but followed more than a month of planning.

The abstract design features the students’ handprints, and river residents such as crocodiles, barramundi, bream and freshwater snakes.

Art teacher Sherryl Mannerheim said during class she “brainstormed the wildlife of the Roper River area, which proved to be quite extensive and extraordinary”.

“The students and I gradually simplified it by including only those creatures living in the river,” she said. “The students designed ways to represent water, practised drawing wildlife in class on A3-size paper, and examined traditional Aboriginal artwork, especially the cross hatching technique.

“At the site, water lines representing the river and outer banks were sketched on with giant chalk sticks. The mural was divided into 10 sections, and secondary and primary school students worked in teams on a section which they had previously drawn up in class. The motifs were then painted in the traditional colours of brown, black, white, orange, red and ochre.”

A 33,000 litre tank in the vicinity of the bridge mural will be painted, possibly depicting bush tucker plants.

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Last updated: 28 November 2017