Swans explore South Melbourne roots with new mural at the Market

City of Port Phillip
A new mural has been painted at the South Melbourne Market celebrating the Sydney Swans’ 150th anniversary.

Located between York Street and the Market’s external food hall, the colourful mural pays tribute to Swans legends from the club’s days in South Melbourne.

Bloods legends Bob Skilton and Peter Burns are featured, as well as former captains John Rantall and Ron Clegg alongside the club’s first Indigenous player Elkin Reilly and more.

The players are some of the most decorated players to wear the red and white guernsey, with many having a strong connection to South Melbourne, having grown up and lived in the area.

The heritage mural was designed and painted by Gadigal artist Jesse Wright, also known as JESWRI, best known for his large-scale public artworks.

JESWRI, originally from Sydney, now lives in Melbourne – taking the opposite path of the Swans, having relocated from South Melbourne to play in Sydney in 1982.

“It’s been nice to see the Swans fans come by when I have been painting and give me really cool feedback and support and lovely things to say,” JESWRI said.

“The trickiest part was to wrap all the sides of it, it’s a very unique canvas so I have mixed a few sides into one to make it a bit more of a melting pot for Swans fans.

“The portraits are some of my favourite parts, particularly of Elkin Reilly, being an Indigenous player. Taking my time and being able to explore it has been really cool.”

The mural project comes thanks to a collaboration between Council, the Sydney Swans Football Club and the Victorian Government’s Urban Canvas program.

The creation of new murals under Urban Canvas continues to combat unsightly graffiti vandalism through the installation of street art.

Under Urban Canvas, government agencies and companies have given Council permission and provided funding to commission murals on their assets.

The selected locations are high profile sites identified as illegal graffiti hotspots. The idea is that taggers are less likely to deface public spaces featuring street art.

The new mural was celebrated with a launch event on 22 May with the Swans hosting a kiosk at South Melbourne Market.

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