Brunswick – March 2021

My rough plan was to start at Jewell Station, walk north to Sparta Place, visit some art galleries, and search for street art or graffiti in Brunswick. I wasn’t sure what I would find; there is only so much research that you can do online before exploring the facts on the ground.

Tāne Te Manu McRoberts, Te Heketanga a Rangi – Heavenly Origins, installation view

Avoiding the busy Sydney Road and navigating all the parallel streets and lanes. The location of all the galleries that I wanted to visit.This is where I thought I had the best chance of seeing some eye-popping graffiti. Much of the area used to light industrial but is now being replaced with multi-storey apartments, so my route included detours around various construction projects. There were knots of rope and green x marking trees spray-painted on the pavement around Jewell Station. Part of community consultation about the redesign of that end of Wilson Avenue.

The first gallery was Blak Dot. Blak Dot has an exhibition by Indigenous people from around the world. Tāne Te Manu McRoberts mixes traditional and contemporary textile art in “Te Heketanga a Rangi – Heavenly Origins”, keeping his culture charged with spectacular feather cloaks and other textile art. A must-see for anyone in Melbourne who is a poi enthusiast.

TCB had two exhibitions that had just opened on Wednesday night; “Medicine Walls” by Fergus Binns and “Cat toys & paperweights” by Brayden van Meurs. Binns five paintings are crazy fun with a fully sick paint technique and references to Dali and William Blake. Van Meurs’ five cat toys & paperweights are sculptures, in other words. Many are titled “lofi cityscape to scratch”, and “scratchable fabric” is included in the long list of materials. Having started the day with a conversation with my cat when I was still trying to sleep, I felt sympathy for van Meurs enterprise. My cat was trying to tell me that she had thrown up on the couch.

TCB on Wilkinson Street is a small, L shaped gallery space in front of the partitions of artist’s studios. This long-running artist-run-gallery that started in 1998 is now in its third location. I remember seeing one of Juan Ford’s first exhibitions at TCB at its first site in Port Phillips Arcade in the city.

I had seen some fresh graffiti pieces north of Jewell, but off the narrowing lane that runs through Bunnings, I saw a wall of graffiti writers of the avant-garde. Modernism, two meters high, as if it was written by graffers and not Greenberg. Pushing letterform  as far as it will go in all directions.

Finally, in Sparta Place, I found the empty former location of Beinart Gallery. Jon is now selling NFT art. Further removing the fantastic art that his gallery stocks from the actual world. At this point, my stomach seized control and directed my legs towards the nearest Lebanese bakery.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

4 responses to “Brunswick – March 2021

  • Charles Lai

    Interesting you suggested that Beinart is closed, it merely moved to 307 Victoria St Brunswick at a bigger premise. See : https://beinart.org/ I’m surprised that there were no notes on the old premise telling people that.

    • Mark Holsworth

      Thanks Charles. My mistake I will make a correction. My only excuse is that Google maps was still giving me incorrecct information about the location, although I probably forgot about reading the notice of moving locations.

  • Carla Gottgens

    Hi Mark, the knot and rope design at Jewell Station was my design and creation. You are correct the Tree dots indicate where tree planters will be placed when Wilson Avenue gets its overhaul. The knots and ropes are a nod to the Brunswick rope making industry and coincidentally many of the knots are those used by rock climbers, some of whom came to visit the community activation day and sprayed their own knot pattern near the bouldering wall on Wilson Ave. This was a project funded by Moreland Council and another can be seen on Albert and Victoria Streets in Brunswick East. Also my creation.

    • Mark Holsworth

      Thanks Carla, I thought that it was all one project, although, I was confused about what the ropes were indicating, then. Your ropes look good and ties with the urban boldering wall. I must have more of a look around Albert and Victoria Street. Thanks for the details.

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