You might have heard a fair bit about Muralisto in our feed lately. That's because this newly formed Sydney creative company has been working alongside us for our Welcome Walls project. Muralisto worked alongside us to workshop mural designs with refugees and asylum seekers, and has been with us every step of the way holding mural events all over the city. Together with members of the refugee and asylum seeker community, Muralisto and its team of artivists are brightening the streets of Parramatta with images of inclusivity and welcome. We sat down with Muralisto founders (and siblings) Zoe and Xander to find out a little more about the amazing work they're doing creating murals for change.
Who is Muralisto?
Muralisto is a co-design public art company. Our purpose is to amplify the voices of marginalised communities, empower the individual and celebrate diversity through collaborative storytelling and creative expression in the public sphere.
Describe the core vision behind this collective?
Our vision is to create public art with a purpose, in Australia and around the world. In particular to create works that address the social, cultural and environmental issues we face as a global community. In doing so, we hope to provide more opportunities for artists to positively impact society, and to inspire and nurture the next generation of artivists (artists and activists combined).
What is your background in the arts?
Our first project together was The Charing Cross Mural project in 2010. We collaborated with Waverley Council, local business and young emerging street artists to create 3 large-scale murals for the community. 2 of those murals are still around some 7 years later and have become iconic to the local area (they even feature as a pokestops on PokemonGo!). One of the other sites has since been changed over a number of times and currently is home to an awesome Lister mural.
Since then, Zoe has been an Artist Manager for The Drawing Book Studios coordinating a number of large-scale exhibitions and projects and was recently Fair Manager for The Other Art Fair 2016 before launching Muralisto in January 2017. Xander studied at COFA and has been a freelance muralist, designer and artist for a number of years. He also co-found artist collective ‘The Chrown’ which hosted art parties, exhibitions and events around Sydney. Josie our Community Engagement Manager has completed Honours in International Community Development at UNSW and in 2011 she started a micro-credit development project for women in Tanzania. She has also worked with refugees as a Human rights caseworker for Amnesty International.
Why do you think art is an important medium for activism?
Art is a universal language. It is one way we can connect with the individual human story without the constraints of prejudice and conditioning. Art, particularly in the public sphere, can be tremendously inspiring and communicate powerful messages that mobilise ideas and action. Art brings people together and we believe it can help us move towards social cohesion and unity by enabling us to engage with the politically charged and often highly complex issues we face - refugees, uprisings, elections, racism, women’s rights, terrorism, climate change.
Tell us a little about your involvement in the recent Welcome Walls project What kind of causes is/will Muralisto promote in the community?
Welcome Walls was a collaboration between Muralisto and Welcome Studio. We worked with Parramatta council and local business to secure mural sites for the creation of 3 large scale public art pieces that were co-designed with artivists and community members from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The results have been fantastic and with one wall finished this week, we are eagerly awaiting the next two!
This particular project was a response to the negative dialogue and attitudes that circulated the refugee debate in Australia. We wanted to promote multi-cultural messages of unity, love and welcome so that we could change the conversation to one that celebrates diversity and inclusion in Australia!
What’s next for Muralisto?
We have a number of exciting projects lined up so make sure you stay tuned by following our instagram and facebook (@muralisto)! We will be launching a public art youth program with Parramatta Council this year and will have loads of community mural projects on the go. Keep an eye out for our Harmony Day initiative on March 21!