Bran Nue mural to mark iconic musical

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Boddington boy Kamsani Bin-Salleh has paid homage to Australian playwright Jimmy Chi with a mural dedicated to the first Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae.
Camera IconBoddington boy Kamsani Bin-Salleh has paid homage to Australian playwright Jimmy Chi with a mural dedicated to the first Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae. Credit: ture: Supplied

Boddington boy Kamsani Bin Salleh has paid homage to Australian playwright Jimmy Chi with a mural dedicated to the first Aboriginal musical, Bran Nue Dae.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bran Nue Dae, WA Opera has collaborated with the City of Subiaco to commission a commemorative mural.

Now based in Perth, Bin Salleh was contacted by the City of Subiaco to design and paint the mural on the corner of Roberts and Rokeby roads.

Bin Salleh said before he started the mural, he had only seen the 2009 film adaptation.

“I saw the play for the first time last Friday and I’ve now incorporated some more things into the mural from the play after seeing it,” he said.

“It’s nice knowing the play is the first Aboriginal musical and it addresses some serious issues through comedy and entertainment.

“I thought I’d do the same thing with my art, using bright colours to draw people in but still allow them to receive the messages I’m expressing.”

Kamsani Bin Salleh & Erika Dizon at Bran Nue Dae on February 7. -
Camera IconKamsani Bin Salleh & Erika Dizon at Bran Nue Dae on February 7. - Credit: The West Australian, Alan Chau - The West Australian.

The 26-year-old artist is descended from the Nimunburr and Yawuru people of the Kimberley, and the Ballardong Noongar people of the Perth region.

Growing up in Boddington until he was in Year 10, Bin Salleh said spending time in the region inspired some of his work.

“I spent most of my time in Ranford, and with everything being far, in between I spent most of my time indoors scribbling away and watching a lot of cartoons,” he said.

“When I was at home I’d be climbing a tree or swimming in the river and I’ve always enjoyed going to school. Art class was my favourite as I could express myself.”

Bin Salleh moved to Perth for Years 11 and 12, where he attended Scotch College.

“My family are still in Boddington — I try and go back every now and then,” he said.

“Boddington is going down the art road with the sculptures there so it’d be nice to go back and put my touch to it.”

Bin Salleh’s mural features colours from the Kimberley region, where the play is set.

The parrot, dingo and turtle.
Camera IconThe parrot, dingo and turtle. Credit: Kambarni/Instagram

The musical comedy tells the story of a rebellious teenager in the 1960s who runs away from a Catholic boarding school and tries to hitchhike to his Aboriginal home in Broome.

Bran Nue Dae is presented by the West Australian Opera and is showing in Perth untilSaturday.

“The mural pays homage to Jimmy Chi and his growth as an artist which is represented by the turtle, dingo and parrot on the front. The turtle represents talent floating around, the dingo represents finding his footing and moving towards a goal and the parrot represents setting up an enterprise and been able to look at everything he’s created and take on that mentorship role,” he said.

“It also ties in with the play’s character Willy, it just represents growth, self-discovery and coming together as one.”

Bin Salleh is working towards having the mural completed by Saturday and has had a lot of help.

“I’ve had people from the play, the council, friends, family and strangers come and help. It’s been a nice collaboration. Many hands make light work,” he said.

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