Thursday, April 25, 2024

Penrith mural celebrates city’s pandemic resilience

A thoroughfare in the western Sydney suburb of St Marys is home to a new work of street art inspired by the efforts and resilience of Penrith City residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Local leisure centre, Ripples Aquatic and Recreation, recently called for submissions by Western Sydney artists to design a mural that would celebrate the community’s perseverance over the past 18 months and Penrith’s post-pandemic social connectedness.  

A design developed by local Cranebrook artist, Paul Zoeller, met the brief and stood out due to the artist’s use of imagery, colour and symbolism. The expansive piece is now featured on a wall of the Ripples St Marys building, fronting Charles Hackett Drive, opposite St Marys Town Centre. 

Paul’s newly completed mural reads ‘We Got This’, with the words emerging from a zipper, which Council says serves as a metaphor for the City reopening after lockdown. There are various, bright graphics to reflect the services residents can once again enjoy, such as visiting restaurants and cafes, the gym, or a hair salon.   

Penrith City Council’s General Manager, Warwick Winn thanked the artist for using his talent to brighten up a busy pocket of St Marys and to communicate Council’s clear message of thanks.   

“Our community has been through challenging times over the past 18 months and we want to thank the residents of our City for the remarkable resilience they have shown throughout the pandemic and particularly during the toughest stages of lockdown,” Mr Winn said.  

“Council chose a prominent location for this artwork to ensure it is seen by residents every day, whether that’s community members driving to work, walking to school or visiting the shops,” he said.  

The location of the new mural is also a nod to the outstanding work of Ripples staff during lockdown, he said. The Ripples team launched its popular telehealth service and pivoted its schedule by creating a virtual platform to offer a timetable of health and well-being classes, group fitness classes, squad sessions for swimmers, and engaging activities for children.

Staff members who were unable to undertake their normal duties while Ripples’ St Marys and Penrith centres were closed spent their time in North St Marys, operating Council’s Hamper Hub and distributing emergency food supplies to residents and offering friendly support when the community needed it most.  

“Not only is this mural meaningful, it is also fun and creates some excitement for residents of all ages. It gives them a chance to pause during their busy day and look at the artwork, or stop for a photo,” Mr Winn said.  

“As we emerge from the pandemic, Council once again thanks our City for doing the right thing and stresses the importance of reminding everyone to take a moment, to reflect and appreciate the little things.”  

During the days the artist spent working on and spray painting the mural, residents stopped to thank him for the concept and eye-catching art.  

Council has put two temporary decals on the ground, one is a ‘selfie spot’ encouraging the general public to take a selfie and interact with the image, while the other reminds residents to be COVID safe, with a QR code for important information and resources.  

To view a video of the mural being created, click here.

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