Oakey swells with pride as street artist Fintan Magee uses library as his latest canvas

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Oakey swells with pride as street artist Fintan Magee uses library as his latest canvas

Fintan Maggie settled on the rhythm on the streets of Oakey.

World-renowned street artists have spent the past week painting the latest work on the walls of the town’s library and spending a lot of time chatting with residents and passers-by as the work progresses.

“Small towns feel a little more practical about their involvement in such works,” he said.

Maggie has painted large murals in cities around the world, but noticed the difference when painting in rural Australia.

The large-scale work was completed in 4 days.((((ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunners).

“There seems to be a greater sense of ownership. [from the locals]And you can say that you are proud of the job, “he said.

“I don’t always have access to art because there are no art galleries in small towns. I like the idea that art is part of people’s daily lives.

“I like the work to be part of the landscape.”

While other “big things” around Australia are divided, the street art phenomenon of the modern region is widely admired.

A picture of a large blue elephant on the outer wall
The elephant mural of Fintan Maggie has become a must-see in Toowoomba. ((((ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunners).

Art transforms the community

The large artwork not only brightened up the small community, but also brought art-loving visitors to the towns that needed a boost.

About 400 km west of Oakey, Talon is preparing to celebrate five years of painted silos.

Project coordinator Leanne Brosnan said the murals have rejuvenated the small town.

“During the drought, the hotel’s former renter estimated that the silo added $ 200,000 a year to his earnings,” she said.

“But we can’t value the pride and confidence that it is given to many members of the community.

Two artists in an elevator paint a 30m silo wall
Artists Drapl and The Zookeeper spent three weeks painting silos in Talon in 2017.((((ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunners).

“It changed the city in a way we never imagined.”

Brosnan said drawing a silo in the town was a “statement of something positive” for the town that had made it difficult in the midst of a drought.

“They saw a train station nearby. They saw the company shut down. It was a state of constant decline,” she said.

“The beautiful mural was intended to draw a line in the sand and say,’It won’t fade anymore, it’s all above here.'”

And it has been.

Large stamp poster featuring Talon silo murals
The mural of Talon is drawn on the stamp.((((Courtesy: Thallon Progress Association).

“No one really knew what would happen,” Brosnan said.

“But it rejuvenated the town and gave people pride in their community.”

Images of Talon’s murals are adorned with tea towels, chunky coolers, magnets, jigsaw puzzles, and even stamps.

It was the first mural of this kind in Queensland and is now part of Australia’s silo art trail must-see.

“People in Talon know that their community is famous for this beautiful mural, which is the focus of something quite special, young and old,” Brosnan said.

Improving economy and self-confidence

Talon has a population of 257, many of whom are informal tour guides when visitors come to town to see the murals.

Caravan parked in front of the mural
The murals have turned the once quiet town into a must-see destination.((((ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunners).

“There may have been two caravans the night before the mural was painted,” Brosnan said.

“Now, during the tourist season, there are 25 caravans at night.

“Some people go to pubs for dinner, some come to the information center to buy tea towels, and some go to a new little coffee shop.

“The locals see them all through the eyes of the visitors and give them the opportunity to be even more grateful for their town.”

Close-up image of an empty paint bucket with an artist and a mural in the background
The appearance of the Oakey Library has changed completely.((((ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunners).

Returning to Oakey, Adam Wenitong, the founder of the Young Bruthas Mentorship project, wants to see these feelings once Australia’s latest street artwork is dry.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come from outside the town and take pictures of street art. [nearby] Toowoomba. “

“When I did some youth programs at Oakey, the youth said,’Why isn’t there something like that street art here?'”

“And now we do.”

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