The stunning work of Bundjalung artist Marcus Ferguson featured at the BP Travel Centre in Ballina.
The stunning work of Bundjalung artist Marcus Ferguson featured at the BP Travel Centre in Ballina.

Bundjalung artists commissioned for Pacific Hwy works

HAVE you seen this masterpiece overhanging the entrance of the new BP Travel Centre at Ballina?

The Marcus Ferguson work of art, commissioned by Transport for NSW, is one of 10 Aboriginal artworks set to appear along the Pacific Highway from Ballina to Woolgoolga, as part of the highway upgrade.

Mr Ferguson is one of three Bundjalung artists involved in the project, along with Oral Roberts and Sheldon Harrington.

Transport for NSW has employed engagement and design specialists Balarinji to work with key Aboriginal stakeholders from Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl communities including elders, knowledge holders and artists to develop concept artwork.

Artists will design work that will appear on nine bridge safety screens and four rest areas on the 155km route once it opens fully to traffic in 2020.

The state government is supporting the Woolgoolga to Ballina Aboriginal art trail which seeks to improve journeys and make rest areas more attractive to stop and relax.

Transport for NSW north region director Anna Zycki said the artwork also helps reduce vandalism and graffiti, improves the tourist experience and provides a connection to the deep Aboriginal history and culture of the region.

About the artists

Marcus Ferguson is a local Nyangbul Goorie from Ballina and Cabbage Tree Island, and has been painting for 25 years. He enjoys incorporating the many different cultural birds and animal species that are associated with the cultural landscape of the lower Richmond River.

Oral Roberts was born on the Cubawee Mission near Lismore in 1960, his father (Widjabal) and mother Minanjali/Bundjalung). His works reflect his close connection to the Bundjalung land and culture. His painting expresses his strong connection to the spirit and the bush, where many of the bird species and animals he paints are native.

Sheldon ‘Sj’ Harrington, is a young local Widjabul artist. The importance of his connection to Bundjalung Country, his family, his community and way of being has been taught by family in many forms of oral and visual language. These teachings now permeate his artworks and visual designs, and pay respect and celebrate the survival and continuation of knowledge and dreaming.