By Raquel Mustillo
PROUD Gunditjmara man Tylah Saunders will help transform the streets of Darwin into a giant art gallery after being selected to participate in the capital city’s Street Art Festival.
The former Limestone Coast resident will add colour to community spaces in Darwin’s suburbs and join local, national and international artists in painting more than 18 new murals to create a Territory-wide street art trail from Alice Springs to Nightcliff.
“I created a digital design and sent that through and a panel of judges decided to use my artwork, which is really cool,” Mr Saunders said.
“As it’s my first large-scale piece, I’m going to be working with a street artist to bring my design to life.”
Mr Saunders’ upcoming artistic endeavour follows a slew of successful partnerships, including creating digital imagery for the Menzies School of Health to be used on banners for the promotion of healthy eating.
The artist, who describes his style as “Contemporary Indigenous”, started painting for family and friends after first picking up brushes at 23.
“It literally began with a $5 scrapbook and a few cheap paints from a newsagency,” Mr Saunders said.
“But even then, it was a really meditative and cathartic thing for me.
“I’d put on some music and before I knew it, three hours had passed.”
Mr Saunders said some of his work has been inspired by landscapes in his hometown of Beachport, as well as worldwide travels and family.
The artists’ most recent collaboration of three skateboard decks with street wear brand Them People includes a piece dedicated to Mr Saunders’ late sister Jmara, who passed away at age 32.
“I think my skateboard collaboration has been one of my favourites,” Mr Saunders said.
“It’s really cool to see some of my artwork in such a unique format.
“There’s also loss and a reminder of the importance of family.”
Mr Saunders has recently completed an acrylic on canvas piece as part of a joint Clean Ocean Art exhibition to be shown in Adelaide later this month, with proceeds of the sale to be donated to charity.
“The purpose [of the exhibition is] to raise funds for ocean clean-up projects,” he said.
“We all know the impact that plastic and rubbish have on our beaches and marine life, so it’s pretty special to be able to try and have a small by positive impact.”