The conversations between Yeperenye Shopping Centre and Red Hot Arts Alice Springs to paint a mural on the shopping centre started over a year before it was painted. The initial ideas sought to leverage the Yeperenye brand with its association to the local Yeperenye caterpillar and moth. The caterpillar itself was already the mascot for the centre and has a strong cultural relationship in the region.
“We rarely consider shopping centres to be the iconic buildings in an urban environment. Yet as can be seen through this example of partnering with the arts, we can transform these otherwise large plain buildings into something of international interest. Why isn’t your shopping centre an Instagramable tourist destination?” said Cy Starkman – General Manager Red Hot Arts Alice Springs.
Fiona Walsh a local scientist was key in designing the iconic mural, with access to information and photos about the different stages of life of the caterpillar. Fiona’s photos were used by the lead artist from Melbourne, Jimmy DVATE to assemble the design and select colours. The mural was funded by Yeperenye Shopping Cenra and the NTG Government and painted as part of the Alice Springs Street Art Festival.
Due to the massive 420m2 size of the artwork, Jimmy was supported by local artist Mark Twohig and Darwin artist Jesse Bell. The final element, steel sculptures of the moth were created by local artist Janine Stanton as part of the centre’s 30th year celebrations.
“The successful partnering between Yeperenye Shopping Centre, the Arts Sector through Red Hot Arts and local and Territory Government has seen a plain car park wall transformed into a space that now captures the imagination of the whole community. The story of the lifecycle of the Caterpillar and the transformation of the wall has not only added value to the centre but attracts local and interstate visitors. The time lapse piece that was done during the transformation was viewed thousands of times and shared internationally,” said Nicole Walsh Marketing Manager Yeperenye Shopping Centre.
The community response has been as positive with the Arrernte people responsible for the cultural elements of the mural thoroughly supportive of the large scale mural. The mural itself has changed traffic and pedestrian flows and is being included by tour operators and photographed by visitors from all over the world transforming the centre in to a tourist destination.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss said “The Alice Springs Street Art Festival was a wonderful collaboration between artists, local businesses and government to showcase Alice Springs, our culture and create a renewed energy and focus for the town centre. The Territory Labor Government has confirmed funding for the next Alice Springs Street Art Festival… with NT Major Events Company and Red Hot Arts…”