Bundjalung artist Luke Close is transforming the new art gallery carpark.
Bundjalung artist Luke Close is transforming the new art gallery carpark. Contributed

We can see the gallery for the trees

IT MAY have lost a tree, but the new Lismore Regional Gallery is gaining a forest.

Bundjalung artist Luke Close is transforming a carpark wall at the entry to the new space on Keen Street into a vibrant mural depicting a rainforest and Whian Whian Falls.

"Whian Whian flows into Rocky Creek Dam, which is the water source for the region and a gathering place. It's always been communal,” Luke said.

His work is already attracting interest and he welcomed passers-by to stop and have a yarn as the work takes shape.

"It's a sexy new gallery and I love it... I want this artwork to be contemporary, post-modern and sexy to go with it,” he said.

"I feel like this is great for my professional development and helps springboard me into the indigenous arts community on a national level.”

The artwork has been commissioned by the Lismore Regional Gallery to draw visitors from Keen Street towards the new gallery.

"As part of the gallery project we upgraded the carpark off Keen Street and there was this bland wall which was crying out for a mural,” Gallery Director Brett Adlington explained.

"In consultation with our Aboriginal Advisory Group and Public Art Reference Group, we called for expressions of interest from local artists and Luke was selected.

"We were looking for something that is colourful and eye-catching as well as being a reminder that we acknowledge and respect the Bundjalung people, the traditional owners of the land on which the gallery is situated,” Brett added.

"Luke's work certainly fits that brief.”

The artwork will take around two to three weeks to complete if the weather stays dry, in plenty of time for the official gallery opening in late October.