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Metro Tunnel

Creative Program at State Library Station

Home / Work

Franklin Street, February 2021 to present

We invited artists from the Metro Tunnel Creative Program Artist Pool to reflect on working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is Home / Work – a group exhibition exploring how local artists, designers, performers and more forged productive, creative spaces at home during Melbourne's lockdown.

Home / Work features Nicole Bester, Naomi Bishop, Ross Calia, Veronica Caven Aldous, Matthew Clarke, Lucy Davison, Sophie deLightful, Giovanna De Silva, Leslie Goldman, Goodie, Sarah Hogan, Jasmine Holmes, David ‘Meggs’ Hook, Tegan Iversen, Jessica Jane, Damon Kowarsky, Kristina Kraskov, Chrissie Krebs, Manda Lane, Youbi Lee, Jess Lowther, Vicki Mason, Helen Mathwin, Glenn Morgan, Michelle Odgers, Kate Pullen, Noël Skrzypczak, Beck Storer, Sally Walk, Glen Walton and Alison White.

Weekdays: NOLA

Swanston Street, November 2020 to present

Local studio Weekdays has revitalised Melbourne's CBD post-lockdown with colourful and welcoming designs. You'll find them on Metro Tunnel construction hoardings around the State Library Station site in the NOLA (north of La Trobe) precinct.

Read our interview with Weekdays' Todd Vanneste.

Construction fencing painted in pinks, reds, golds and navy with the words NOLA and COMMUNITY and a dove holding an olive branch.

Sarah Walker & Mike Greaney: Faces of Fringe 2020 - In Your Dreams

Franklin Street, November 2020 to January 2021

Plans scuppered. Shows with their wings clipped. This year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival was meant to look a lot different – but even though the world changed, Fringe artists didn’t stop dreaming.

Metro Tunnel Creative Program and Melbourne Fringe Festival are pleased to once again present a new series of works by local artists.

In this outdoor exhibition, photographer Sarah Walker captures Fringe artists faced with a new reality and at their most vulnerable. Artist Mike Greaney then sets them free by illustrating the plans and dreams they were unable to achieve because of, well, 2020.

These are the faces of Melbourne Fringe 2020 – photographed in reality, and let loose in dreams.

Faces of Fringe 2020: In Your Dreams will be on display at Franklin Street next to the Melbourne City Baths from 12 November 2020.


Photography by Anne-Marie De Boni

Stephen Banham: Here, There

Swanston Street, October 2020 to present

Artist statement

Here, There (2020) offers a continuous and playful typographic loop, generating a sense of endless activity, energy, time and, above all, the sense of repetition we experience as we constantly move from here to there.

About Stephen Banham

Often described as a "typographic evangelist", Stephen Banham is a typographer and educator. His typographic explorations, across some 18 books primarily centre on the cultural life of letterforms.

Banham’s design work and writings have appeared in countless international publications and design events, from Barcelona to Beirut, New Zealand to New York. A board member and assessor of the International Society of Typographic Designers, Dr Banham also lectures in typography in the RMIT School of Design.

Instagram: @letterboxtype

Photography by James Henry

Franklin Street’s new outdoor gallery space

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program commissioned Vision Australia to use recycled timber from the Metro Tunnel Project to create a series of 60 large, wooden picture frames which are attached to construction hoardings on the Franklin Street acoustic shed.

The team from Vision Australia cut the timber (which was London Plane) to size, removed all abnormalities and treated the frames with linseed oil to ensure they were suitable for outdoor use.

Vision Australia is a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia. It works in partnership with Australians who are blind or have low vision to help them achieve the possibilities they choose in life. Woodworking is one of the many programs run by Vision Australia to allow people who are blind or have low vision to pursue activities the wider community may take for granted.

The frames are on the walkway facing the City Baths surrounding the site that will be the new State Library Station. The Creative Program will commission local artists and work with local festivals to provide a rotating series of artworks in this new outdoor gallery over the next four years.

Photography by James Henry

Toni Magor: Here and Now

Franklin Street, June to November 2020

Artist statement

“During COVID-19 I used paint to record the new look of familiar places, fascinated by the novel quietness of the streets, the sparsely-peopled halls of the market and the revealed fluoro presence of construction workers and delivery riders who continue to work in this corner of the suddenly tranquil city.”

About Toni Magor

Toni Magor resides and works in the north of Melbourne’s CBD.

She started painting postcards while travelling overseas in her twenties as a way of sharing her experience with friends and family back home (in the days before smart phones!).

She has practised various other forms of painting and printmaking since then and recently rediscovered her love of watercolour as a means of exploring our city during the pandemic.

Samara Clifford: Silver Ghillie, 2019

Melbourne Photographer Samara Clifford plays on the concept of ‘hiding in plain sight’ with her Silver Ghillie – a magical character based on traditional Ghillie suits used by military snipers for camouflage. But Clifford’s Ghillie is a sparkling, shining creature clad in foil. Despite this eye-catching attire, the ghillie moves about the city largely unnoticed (or wilfully ignored?) by passers-by.

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program commissioned Clifford to shoot the Silver Ghillie around some of its construction sites which, by being covered in art and design, are also ‘hiding in plain sight’.

About the artist

Graduating from Curtin University in 1996 with a BA Design (Photography) with high distinctions, Samara travelled the world, working with photographers, advertising and digital agencies for 10 years.

Producing photoshoots for record companies in London, and managing a creative team of 40 people, she also exhibited, and sold out a two person show in Belfast.

In 2009 she returned to Australia to begin her own photographic business and is now Melbourne based.

The Silver Ghillie concept was Samara’s creative response to the theme ‘Camouflage’ provided by Wunder Gym – a Collingwood based practical art program that allows creatives to extend their skills and practice through unique project briefs, artist mentorships and group exhibitions.

Instagram: @silverghillie

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Katy Smits: Metropolitan Tiles, 2019

Artist statement

“I wanted to create a bold and graphic pattern based on the environment surrounding the site. I took close up photos of various architectural elements from the Melbourne City Baths, RMIT buildings and the Old Melbourne Gaol. I then drew on top of these images in colours taken from the locations and created a series of motifs and elements to use in the designs.

I took a lot of inspiration from Mediterranean tiles when creating the designs. I really enjoy the bright range of colours they use, the various layouts and possibilities created from such simple shapes. I started brainstorming with rough sketches and eventually moved into Adobe Illustrator to further develop and experiment with scale, shape and transition. I thought a tile pattern would work really well within the location, with its simple but bold repeat and would be a fun and interesting way to combine all the motifs in a way that made sense of the location.”

About the artist

Katy is a year 2 student with the Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) program at RMIT. Her works feature elements of her surroundings interpreted through a variety of bold shapes and bright colours.

RMIT School of Fashion & Textiles, Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design)

The School of Fashion & Textiles brings together Design, Technology and Enterprise. The focus of the Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) program is textile structures, surfaces, patterns, materiality and their relationship with bodies, spaces and experiences. Textile designers are inquisitive, sensory and driven by solution seeking within a broad range of textile industries and design practices.

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RMIT Open Day student artwork

For the 2019 Open Day, the Metro Tunnel Creative Program showcased student artwork on the construction hoardings around RMIT.

The series of images represented the breadth of practice across the School of Art including; fine art, craft, photography and art in public space.

The School of Art at RMIT is an international site for innovative and diverse art, craft and photographic practices and research.

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Kelly Koumalatsos: Benim Wile - To Cover Over with Possum Blanket

This work is based on Kelly’s original artwork that won the Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award at Koorie Heritage Trust as part of the 2018 Koorie Art Show.

The artworks presented here are adaptions of her award-winning artwork, Benim Wile: To cover over with possum blanket, which draws on the imagery of stitched possum pelts to create imaginary blankets which are now metaphorically covering parts of the city.

About the artist

Kelly is an important visual artist working in regional Victoria. Her arts practice explores various aspects of both her Aboriginal (Wergaia/Wemba Wemba) and Greek heritage.

Kelly has been working with possum skins and possum skin imagery in her artworks for many years. From her early work recreating real possum skin cloaks, to her more recent artworks using screen printing and digital imagery of possum fur, working with the imagery of possum fur in her printmaking and installation artworks has allowed Kelly to reconnect and reclaim aspects of her Indigenous heritage.

Kelly’s artistic practice has drawn on research into historic photographic images of Koorie people from across Victoria wearing possum skin cloaks. Possum skin cloaks had a very important role in traditional Aboriginal societies, as both a means of keeping dry and warm, but also as an important cultural item, often incorporating imagery and markings of cultural significance, and handed down within families over generations.

Photography by James Henry

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Miles Howard-Wilks: Transport paintings, 2019

These artworks of reimagined landscapes selected for the Metro Tunnel Creative Program are typical of Miles Howard-Wilks' art practice. An avid public transport user and a keen observer and lover of Melbourne, public transport and magpies, Miles has created a series of slightly surreal landscapes that pay homage to Australian flora and fauna as well as Victorian landmarks and infrastructure. After travelling by train, tram or on foot, Miles returns to the studio and paints his land and seascapes from memory.

About the artist

Miles Howard-Wilks is a multi-disciplinary artist, specialising in painting, ceramics, photography and digital art.

He has worked in the studio at Arts Project Australia since 2000 and has had several solo exhibitions andbeen in numerous group shows.

His work is held in a number of public and private collections including National Gallery of Australia (NGA), National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and in the City of Melbourne’s collection.

Arts Project Australia is a leading studio and gallery supporting artists with an intellectual disability, promoting their work and advocating for their inclusion in contemporary art practice. Based in Melbourne, they are known globally as an innovative centre for excellence.

APA artists have been included in exhibitions all over the world and are represented in countless public and private collections.

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Paola Ibarra: The Marks, 2019

Artist statement

“In this work, I have invited the public to collaborate and create the art together. First, I took pictures of the people in the area, then I drew the body outlines onto wooden panel structures and finally, I took these panels to the public spaces near the site, inviting people to add tape by following three guidelines: do not cross existing lines, lines should be straight and create open lines or designs. Over six days, 180 people participated in creating the work.”

About the artist

Paola Ibarra is an artist from Mexico who has worked mostly across Mexico City, Beijing and Melbourne, where she studied her Master of Arts in Public Space at RMIT. Her works are temporary and participatory installations in public spaces, using a range of colourful material such as tape, paint, and recycled materials.

Instagram: @paolaibarraart

The RMIT School of Art is known for its diverse and internationally-renowned creative programs led by accomplished artists, photographers and professional staff who strive for excellence in pedagogy, research and innovation.

Photography by Nicole Reed

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Josh Muir: Josh X Muir, 2018

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program was the Major Sponsor of JOSH X MUIR, a solo exhibition by Ballarat based Yorta Yorta/ Gunditjmara multimedia artist Josh Muir, presented by the Koorie Heritage Trust in November 2018.

The artworks on these hoardings are from the exhibition which is a continuation of the artist’s journey of self-exploration in which he surprises and confounds with his colourful and chaotic digital prints on aluminium, reflecting contemporary street and pop art (including a homage to the American artist KAWS who himself began as a graffiti artist) but incorporating imagery from his own Aboriginal heritage and strong sense of place and community.

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Beci Orpin: Collage

This artwork is a large-scale collage that features papers treated with a variety of materials – inks, gouache, acrylics, pastels, colour pencils and watercolour.

Each piece has been included for a reason: its colour, shape, texture or its connection to the site on which it appears. Architecture, local history, culture and indigenous flora are echoed within the collage in both abstract and more obvious form. The combination of old and new, made and found, reflect the growth and depth of Melbourne as a city.

The collage is designed to continually surprise the viewer – especially those who pass by often and can discover something new each time. The overall look is modern and colourful, but on closer observation the viewer will see the historical context.

About the artist

Beci Orpin is a local creative practitioner in Melbourne, Australia. Her work occupies a space between illustration, design and craft. Beci has run a freelance studio for over 20 years, catering to a wide range of clients, as well as exhibiting her work both locally and internationally. Beci’s work is described as colourful, graphic, bold, feminine and dream-like.

Beci Orpin's artwork at CBD North