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Albany Ring Road bridges provide artwork opportunity for Aboriginal artists

Menang Noongar artists will have the chance to contribute artwork to the walls of new bridges built as part of the Albany Ring Road.

The $175 million ring road project, overseen by Main Roads WA and built by Decmil, includes the construction of three bridges.

A bridge across the Albany Highway and Menang Drive interchange opened to traffic in April this year.

Two more bridges are planned at South Coast Highway and Hanrahan Road, which are expected to be completed and ready for artwork in 2023-24.

Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts said there were six locations where artwork could be installed.

“Each bridge has two large-scale abutment walls that will provide a canvas for public artwork and provide a significant opportunity to visually express local culture and storylines,” Mr Roberts said.

The artworks could be individual pieces or connected by an overall theme.

Members of the Noongar community are invited to attend a yarning session held by the project’s sponsor, not-for-profit art organisation FORM, on July 30.

Mr Roberts said several artists would likely collaborate on the project.

“The yarning sessions will provide an opportunity for the local Menang community to come together to discuss the public artwork and share stories that are culturally significant to them, which will then inform our artwork consultant’s artistic brief and the content of the expression of interest that will be sent to artists afterwards,” Mr Roberts said.

“Local artists and creatives who may be interested in expressing interest are also invited to attend to listen and be inspired through the conversation.

“Ideally, artists will have a significant connection to the local area and the Noongar community, however the expression of interest will be open to all to apply.”

He said that FORM’s Land.Mark.Art program would help “anyone that may not have worked to this scale before, or may have a fantastic idea but is unable to undertake installation”.

Land.Mark.Art is a professional development program that supports Aboriginal visual artists to develop their skills for large-scale public artworks.

After the yarning sessions, a public art advisory group will select shortlisted artists and concepts in September.

The advisory group, to be chaired by the City of Albany, will include two elders from the Albany Heritage Reference Group, as well as representatives from Main Roads and Decmil.

Installation of the artworks is expected in early 2023.

The two yarning sessions will be held at 10am and 2pm on July 30 at 365 Serpentine Road, Mt Melville.

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