No barrier to Townsville’s cultural potential

'The Barrier' will be completed by the end of this week by Italian mural artist Tellas. Find the street art in Federation Place (Cowboys Leagues Club carpark), opposite ROA's untitled croc and turtle artwork.

Townsville is well on-track to be Australia’s street art capital.

That’s the message from Townsville City Council as the finishing touches are added to the latest cultural jewel on the city’s crown.

The Barrier by Italian mural artist Tellas joins a number of recent additions to Townsville’s street art trail, including Leans’ Mother Earth and the RUN Collective’s latest abstract work on Ogden Street.

Tellas said that it was easy to find local inspiration for the full-wall piece.

“My idea is to represent the ground of the Great Barrier Reef, so this work is like a tribute to that,” said Tellas.

Townsville City Council Community and Cultural Committee chair Cr Colleen Doyle said being able to feature local artists alongside the work of international names such as Tellas was incredible for their local profile, and would hopefully lead to bigger and better opportunities.

“I’ve known some of the boys [from local art group RUN Collective] for a very long time, from back when graffiti art and street art wasn’t valued the way it is now. Those guys had a hard time trying to get their foot in the door and be respected for the artists they were,” Cr Doyle said.

“It wasn’t always an easy pathway, but now those guys have had a show in Perc Tucker – a regional gallery! – so now to feature them on the walls of our city helps validate the work they do and shows that it is valuable art to be participating in and sharing with the community. I think featuring our local artists alongside these international names really raises the bar and is a strong acknowledgement in their local community of the work they do.

“I certainly think Townsville is already the North’s street art capital, I have no illusions about that. What we need to be is the street art capital of Australia – that would be my preference, and I don’t think we’re far off!

“I say that with much conviction, we have some amazingly talented people in this community and when you have other artists like Tellas who are prepared to come over here and do work in the community it says something as well: it says he wants his work to be seen alongside these other pieces which I think is great.”

Catch Tellas putting the finishing touches on The Barrier in Federation Place (Cowboys Leagues Club carpark) over the coming days, before the artwork is officially launched this Friday at 5pm.

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