Rose Street, Fitzroy, has been transformed with artwork titled Giirrwaa by Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung artist Otis Hope Carey in collaboration with MPS Paving Design.
Yarra City Council put forth the brief of creating a pedestrian shared zone with parklet furniture, including seating, planters, bicycle facilities and street sculpture.
The section of Rose Street in which the brief applied to is home to two local markets. The limitations in footpath space meant pedestrians relied heavily on using the road to access these markets. There was also limited seating and greening along the street for marketgoers to be able to sit down and enjoy a coffee or sort out their shopping bags. The proposed improvements aimed to provide much needed facilities to make the space more friendly to pedestrians. This also included reducing the speed limit to 10km an hour for all vehicles.
The council also invited three artists to concept the design stage for this project. The artists were invited to respond to the brief for the proposed shared zone and were paid to create site specific designs for the area. The three designs were assessed by council’s Visual Arts Panel, as well as several key staff in council units working across this project.
Of the three artworks created at the concept design stage, Giirrwaa by Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung artist Otis Hope Carey, was selected to proceed to install stage and to be painted on the road.
Giirrwaa is distinctive in its boldness, pared-back colour palette and repetition. Otis Hope Carey draws the traditional symbols of his ancestors and culture into to his contemporary vision, deftly merging the past and present.
Giirrwaa, translates roughly to ‘community’in the language of the Gumaynggirr people and it is hoped that it will start conversations about Indigenous culture and community. It details journeys and experiences derived from the artist’s life.
A series of metaphoric topographies trace fluid paths along the road and the contour lines and movement creates a powerful viewing experience that marries visual immediacy with the spiritual and conceptual nature of Otis Hope Carey’s contemporary art practice.
MPS Paving Design assisted with the implementation of this project using streetbond 150 textured coatings. The street pavement clearly identifies the area where the shared zone applies and alerts drivers that they are in a different space which prioritises pedestrians.