Under the Surface takes shape

Nicholson shelter by Tracey Solomon. Photo: The Social Crew.

Five artists are collaborating on East Gippsland’s inaugural multi-dimensional public art experience, Under the Surface along the East Gippsland Rail Trail, running from Bairnsdale to Orbost until May 6. Local indigenous artists Alice Pepper and Patricia Pittman will be joined by visiting artists David “MEGGS” Hooke, Ling and Minna Leunig in solo and collaborative works led by the story of the Gunaikurnai community.


Sites include:


Nicholson River Bridge, Nicholson: Patricia Pittman


Partelli’s Crossing, Tostaree: Minna Leunig


Orbost Butter Factory, Orbost: LING


Nowa Nowa underpass/tunnel, Nowa Nowa: collaboration between Alice Pepper and Meggs


Each of the artists’ practice focuses on flora, fauna and natural environment and the works will draw attention to the natural environment, assist in visual storytelling and connect and grow human relationships with the land through art.


Through a cultural awareness program with the local Gunaikurnai artist collective and community, the visiting artists developed learnings on artistic practices, storytelling, introduction to the local environment and an understanding of land management and preservation.


In turn, visiting artists shared their creative skills with locals, encouraging confidence in presenting works at a larger scale, with connection to story.


The final result being shared storytelling through public art.


The new work joins existing shelter artworks in Bairnsdale at the beginning of the rail trail by Alfie Hudson, another in Nicholson by local artist Tracey Solomon, and the water tank in Bruthen by Alan Solomon.


Under the Surface follows the route of the former Orbost railway line and passes through a variety of forest and farmland landscapes with snapshot views of the picturesque Gippsland Lakes. The Social Crew has conducted onsite research, engaged key


community members and groups, and collaborated with GLaWAC and the East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee to design and curate the project in order to better inform the travelling artists of their subject matter and the land on which they stand.


The project is designed, produced and delivered by The Social Crew, in collaboration with Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and supported by Commonwealth Government and the Victorian State Government, East Gippsland Shire Council, and the East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee.


This project received grant funding from the federal and state governments.


To find out more visit thesocialcrewevents.com or on Instagram @thesocialcrew