Brisbane Street Art Festival has turned Stanley Street Plaza into a vibrant canvas, with new murals lining the street from two incredible First Nation's artists.
Today we speak with one of the artists, Merindah Funnel, to find out what inspires her and her artwork.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Merindah Funnell. I am a Tubba-Gah Wiradjuri woman. I work full time as an artist. This includes education, illustration, murals, and curation. I am great-granddaughter of Black Tracker Riley – Alex Riley from Dubbo. I feel very proud of my ancestry.
We see that you draw a lot of inspiration from your First Nations heritage and your connection to the land… what inspired your work in Stanley Street Plaza?
What inspired my work for the Stanley Street Plaza was the connection to the waterways that feed us life. I have painted native plants from the specific area. I have strong connections to the water. Whether it is freshwater or saltwater. There is this calming aspect water gives. You cannot bend water too much giving it this life that you need to live alongside.
Your works help create a visual representation of First Nation’s Culture for everyone to see… why is this important to you?
It is important to me to create a visual representation of First Nation Culture for everyone to see because as a youth I was so inspired to see other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander art. It is what made me who I am today. I wish for other young First Nations youths to be doing what I do to also feel inspired. It is also for everyone to enjoy. First Nations throughout history have been painted as hunter-gathers and aggressive. First Nation especially in Australia has so much to offer everyone if they just choose to see and celebrate it. We have the longest living society in the world. It's so diverse in animals and plants. It holds so much beauty that we as Australians as a whole need to see.
Your works range from large scale murals and paintings to smaller, digital illustrations… do you have a favourite to create?
It really depends on my mood. But I guess at the moment I get most enjoyment using aerosol and large scale. I actually find it easy to work large than small. The aerosol is quick and bold exactly what my style is. Second to that is probably water colour. I love just playing with watercolour and creating life landscape paintings. Water has a mind of its own, you can only control it so much. This gives the artwork made from watercolour a life of its own. Think of it like a collaboration with water.
What excites you most about street art?
What excites me most about street art is knowing that my art is celebrated. I don’t even see it as my art anymore but almost this out-of-body experience like it no longer belongs to me it belongs to the land, and I wish to be Acknowledging the Elders and Ancestors of that land. I see my culture as the first “street artists” in a sense when you look at say from my culture the scarred tree or the rock art found Australia wide. Is this not a type of “street art”?
What do you love most about Brisbane Street Art Festival?
What I loved most about Brisbane Street Art Festival was meeting so many amazing artists. Bringing so many cultures together over the love of art is incredible and inspiring.
Do you have any advice for fellow budding artists?
Advice for any budding artists is that know yourself and your worth. Constantly learn and try new things outside your comfort but always stick to who you are and your self-story is.
Psstt.. you can view more of Merindah's works online here or via her Instagram (@merindahfunnell). She also has works on Wiradjuri, Gundungurra , Dharawal, Gadigal, and Ku-ring-gai Country.