The painting of a new mural is currently underway at Nepean Hospital, with messaging aiming to bring hope to incoming patients.
According to Trevor Eastwood from Dalmarri, the idea came about in conversations with the team from the hospital, who thought that the mental health building could do with a bit of a boost.
“It’s all about healing, and people feeling like they’re in a safe place, so they wanted an artwork to just be nice, calming, healing, but to also tell a story of the area, of the community coming to the service to heal and to connect with each other,” he said.
Aside from being given a colour palette to work with, Eastwood said he was free to come up with his own design, feeling inspired to share local stories.
“Nepean Hospital is up there with one of the big icons of Penrith, so we wanted to do it justice, and to tell the story of the area,” he said.
“Aboriginal art is all about telling a story, so you want to tell the past, present and future, and that artwork talks about the land and the river that we stand on. We all walk this land as one now, and we all need to walk together, so it was all about being in the Penrith area, coming together as a community, and sharing our story.”
Since starting the mural just last week, Eastwood said the specifics of the design have grown organically, with his modern contemporary Aboriginal art infused with imagery of the river, and native animals.
“We didn’t really have too much of a plan; we knew we wanted to put the river and the local totems in, and the meeting places, but it just grew as we’re doing it,” he said.
Though the entrance portion is complete, there’s still around 150m of wall to paint, with hopes that the piece will be completed by early December.
“We measured it out, and it’s roughly about a 200m mural,” he said.
“We’re pretty fast painters, but it’s going to take a few weeks, especially to do it justice!”
Eastwood is hoping for hospital staff to soon get involved in the process, allowing them to take ownership and feel more connected to the work.
Despite having plenty still to do, Eastwood said the piece is already doing its job of helping patients feel at ease and welcomed into the space.
“We’re quite happy because we’ve gotten lots and lots of positive feedback – people love it,” he said.
“Before, it was just a boring, concrete wall, and now it’s a really vibrant talking piece. It is pretty daunting coming into the hospital, but at least now there’s this nice mural that you walk into. Hopefully it has a calming effect, and provides a place for people to sit and just enjoy the artwork.”
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.