Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)
Painting the wall, mounting
completed mosaics and grouting were the next steps. Again, everyone was
invited to participate according to their level of comfort. It was a very
physical stage of the project, but one which generated considerable
enthusiasm and excitement as it was evident that we were nearly done. There
was much curiosity and speculation as to how the finished mural would look.
It was suddenly very tangible and possible and real. A whole new range of
skills was available for people to learn - painting, grouting, gluing
mosaics, deciding where to place handprints. By this stage the Koori
participants had developed quite a reputation for their design, many hours
of labour and for the very strong and intricate work they had produced. It
seemed that the space welcomed and celebrated their presence and that they
responded with pride and confidence.
Celebration! Plaques which
acknowledged the contribution of every participant (if they wished to be
named) were mounted on the mural and later unveiled at the opening ceremony.
The Koori artists who designed the mural were given special mention, and
both Yorta Yorta people and Wurundjeri people were acknowledged.
An exhibition of
in-progress photos of the mural made it possible for people who had not been
involved since the beginning of the mural to see its history. It was also a
way of acknowledging the many individuals who had helped along the way. The
photographs continue to be a source of pleasure to people who participated
in the project. They are now exhibited at the Victorian Aboriginal Health
Speeches and traditional
Aboriginal singing and dancing completed the launch. This was a real
highlight of the day and launched the mural in a very spirited and moving
The Mural located at St
Vincent's Hospital Mental Health Service