The Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, in partnership with First Coat Toowoomba, are proud to present a dynamic public artwork by Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten.
The work was completed over three days last weekend as part of the 2016 First Coat Arts and Music festival in Toowoomba. This year, the festival has expanded to â€˜satellite muralsâ€™ and Stanthorpe was honoured to be included.
The mural depicts Angelo Valiante who turns 100 in November of this year. Mr Valiante was one of the first Italians to settle in Stanthorpe and the work pays homage to the Italian community that have made the region what it is today. After World War 1 soldier settlements were established to the north of the town and during and after World War 11 a considerable number of Italian POWs and migrants settled in the Granite Belt. Of the town’s 15 per cent non-Australian born population 65 per cent are Italian.
Mr Valiante looks out reflectively to the main street of Stanthorpe with hope in his eyes â€“ and an optimism for the future of the region and what the next 100 years will bring. Well known to the people of Stanthorpe, Angelo is a shining example of a long and happy life. His enthusiasm for family and friends is one of his best assets and when asked of the secret to a long life he laughs and responds with â€˜hard work!â€™
The mural has already captured the hearts of the people of Stanthorpe with many people enduring the cold over the weekend to come down and watch Guido complete the work. The piece has also gained a following on social media with hundreds of people liking and sharing the image.
Stanthorpe Art Gallery Director Nicola Holly is delighted with the outcome. â€œIt was brilliant having someone of Guidoâ€™s considerable talent come and spend time in our region,â€ she said. â€œHe took his time completing the work and the emotion and passion that Angelo has for his town comes across in the dynamic details of his eyes.â€
Ms Holly wants to continue placing public works of art around the town. â€œMurals are the best way to uplift an area, every time I drive past a wall I think of the possibilities that it has for street art. The goal is to have 8 â€“ 10 substantial murals in the region which will make for an arts trail for our visitors and locals alike.â€
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