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Local Noongar artist Ross Storey working on sea life-inspired mural at Narrogin YMCA

Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Ross Storey working on his mural at the Narrogin Regional Leisure Centre
Camera IconRoss Storey working on his mural at the Narrogin Regional Leisure Centre Credit: Shire of Narrogin

With a helping hand from some talented local children, artist Ross Storey is bringing to life one of the walls of the Narrogin Regional Leisure Centre with an aquatic-themed mural paying homage to his Noongar culture.

Storey has been busy working on the sea-life mural since early July, which draws connections to his family and Aboriginal totem animals.

At the YMCA’s youth open day on July 14, children got the chance to make their own mark on the wall by painting fish with the help of Storey.

“When the kids came I gave them stencils to paint a fish on the wall,” Storey said.

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“I’m a community minded person and I like to give them ownership of it because when the kids come back they point out their fish.

“They ask me what colours I can make and I say ‘well I’m an artist I can make any colour that you like, any colour in the rainbow’.

“They get so excited when we make fluorescent green or aqua blue, it’s good fun.”

Ross Storey's mural up-close
Camera IconRoss Storey's mural up-close Credit: Supplied

The mural was funded by the Shire of Narrogin as a part of NAIDOC week celebrations.

“It’s themed around sea life, so it’s about all the things you find in the sea,” Storey said.

“Some of the animals in the mural are totems, because a lot of Aboriginal people have a totem animal which means they’re not allowed to eat it.

“Some of the animals are painted in a crosshatch style which represents the totems in a sort of traditional style.

“It might mean I’m paying homage or respect to a tribal group by painting that animal the way I painted it.”

Storey said some of the totem animals were dolphins, stingrays and crabs.

“When I paint the stingrays and turtles, I know they’re not from here but there’s still a connection there because I’ve got relatives up north,” he said.

“So when I’m painting, I’m painting those connections that I have.”

Several public art sculptures at Gnarojin Park and murals at Narrogin Primary School and the Town Hall have been worked on by Storey in collaboration with other artists.

Details of Ross Storey's mural
Camera IconDetails of Ross Storey's mural Credit: Supplied

Storey said he liked to incorporate a lot of symbolism within his murals.

“There is a lot of symbolism in the mural as I paint it like the swirly lines that I put in represents the current of the water,” he said.

“It’s done in a symbolic style, it’s done in my own style and there’s a bit of Aboriginal style as well but every artist has their own style and story.

“When I paint traditional, I paint my own story and my own way of thinking spiritually and the way I envision it.”

Although the mural isn’t finished yet, Storey said he had already received some positive feedback.

“It’s looking fantastic so far,” he said.

“I’m getting a lot of compliments on it and it’s becoming a bit of a talking point in town.

“People are happy I’m doing what I love.”

Storey said he was working on incorporating a welcome message in Noongar language.

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