Bringing Life to The Beacon

Published on 15 February 2021

The Beacon

Work has begun on an iconic artwork that will light up Wangaratta’s Railway Precinct. 

The old water tower in Norton Street is being transformed into “The Beacon”, a mural inspired by the Bpangerang concept “Dirrawarra”, meaning together or united. 

The project is a contemporary homage to an ancient and continuing Indigenous practice of gathering people to tell a story and honours our first nations practice. 

The images that will be installed on the water tower are connected to the storytelling and reflection of our land and local environment, including water, land and sky - indigenous species that are then married with modern technology and changing lights bring the different elements into play. 

This is the third public art installation in the Railway Precinct, with the others “Five Leaves’ Tale” at Wangaratta Library and “Weave” opposite the Wangaratta Train Station in Norton Street. 

Work began this week painting a base coat on the water tower, before the designs and lighting are installed over the coming four weeks. 

The New York based design studio Thinkcraft was awarded the commission, led by Sophia Hanover, who is originally from Beechworth and Alex Post, who were chosen after an extensive search for artists who would be able to create an art piece that honoured our past in a modern and contemporary way to create something that would excite our community and visitors.  

“We are excited about the opportunity to tell a story at a civic scale, to contribute to the landscape of arts and enrich the social fabric of Wangaratta in an engaging and enduring way,” Sophia said. 

“More than this, we’re excited to work with great people and collaborators, whom, along the journey of developing this proposal we’ve reconnected with and discovered.  

“Some of our collaborators are local to Wangaratta, and some are further flung specialists in their respective fields - part of our Australian network in Victoria.  

“We’ve come together in the collaborative effort to create a unique marker in the city of Wangaratta, a homage to telling stories - the importance of where we came from, and where we’re going.” 

Mayor Dean Rees said The Beacon is intended to be a living addition to the fabric of Wangaratta. 

“During the day the design tells the story of the interconnected flora and fauna and at night the building comes alive with the aid of coloured light which will react to the surface of the tower creating different images and participants will be able to interact with the lights through the use of a smartphone,” he said. 

“Art is integral to creating a welcoming space at the Railway Precinct and I’m extremely proud of what is being created here. I can’t wait to see it complete with people coming during the day and at night-time to see something truly spectacular.” 

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