Bondi the Beautiful


'Bondi the Beautiful' community mural in the northern courtyard of Bondi Pavilion 1980
Size; 625 sq meters
Project artists David Humphries Rodney Monk Wayne Hutchings Kristine Ammitzboll
Commissioned by Waverley Council  

The wall is an integral part of the courtyard of Bondi Pavilion, which is used as a community centre, for workshops, concerts and festivals; the mural reflected this in its design approach.The artist team devised a work strategy in tune to the pace and mood of Australia's most famous beach and the community, which the building serves. 

The artists worked as a collaborative team and involved the community in concept development as well as painting of the mural. They visited local high schools and community groups giving illustrated talks about murals and soliciting ideas and involvement. A series of open community workshops were held in the Pavilion and people started coming up with ideas of things they loved.
The  'Bondi the Beautiful' theme developed, rich with 1920s imagery of lifesavers, beach belles, and Bondi characters. This was a period rich in imagery, when Bondi was the playground of the Pacific and the Pavilion was a stylish entertainment centre. 

To get people interested and excited about what could be done Public Art Squad started off by projecting images on the walls at night.
In a relaxed but effective way a team of regulars grew, keen on helping paint. The design was prepared, worked out to scale along with a grid and color code for transfer of the design to the wall.
Girls in bikinis would be up scaffolding with a paintbrush in one hand and a gelato in the other. Young artists and students would paint for a few hours, go for a swim then be back to paint again. The social interaction was fascinating as people wandered in to help, wanting to add, say, a dolphin or a bird.
The artistic director exercises quality control - you work with the painters to see how they go, and refine the rough edges and dribbles, but respect the integrity of what they have done - and you keep the whole thing cohesive.

The mural in the courtyard of the Bondi Beach Pavilion became one of the most photographed walls in Australia.  Bondi has changed greatly since the days of this mural.