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Middleton Loop Mural celebrating strength and resilience of the Karen community officially launched

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
The completed Karen community mural in Middleton Loop.
Camera IconThe completed Karen community mural in Middleton Loop. Credit: Laurie Benson

A mural celebrating Albany’s Karen community was officially launched at the weekend in Middleton Loop.

The mural was designed during a four-day workshop to highlight the strength and resilience of local Karen community members, many of whom fled from persecution in their home country of Mynmar.

Artists Nat Rad, Renee Tan and Chad Marwick worked to develop the mural with support from South West MLC Alannah MacTiernan and Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens, whose building the mural adorns.

Mr Marwick said he referenced the vibrant colours of the Karen community’s fabrics for the final design of the collaborative project.

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Ms Tan said the dancing, joyful figures illustrate the “youthfulness” of the community.

The completed Karen community mural in Middleton Loop.
Camera IconThe completed Karen community mural in Middleton Loop. Credit: Laurie Benson

“That’s what we wanted to portray, the positive energy and the coming together of the community, as well as their contributions to our Albany community,” she said.

A rope connecting the different elements of the mural together reflects upon a poem, Kwi-La’s Ropes, that has also been inscribed on the wall.

The poem talks of how a rope can bind “many happy and sad faces” to potentially bring us down, but by coming “together in harmony a rope can be stronger”.

“But ultimately, it is up to us to extend this rope, this love,” the poem concludes.

South West MLC Alannah MacTiernan was joined by members of Albany's Karen community for the launch of the mural.
Camera IconSouth West MLC Alannah MacTiernan was joined by members of Albany's Karen community for the launch of the mural. Credit: Supplied

While the mural was being painted, Albany Karen leader Pah Shaw expressed his “great gratification” for being part of the project.

“It is amazing because we weren’t able to write our own history because of prosecutions and wars back in in our own country,” he said.

“Being able to see something like this is certainly special — words can’t explain how amazing it is.”

The mural was officially launched on Saturday by Ms MacTiernan and members of the Albany Karen community.

The launch was part of this year’s Southern Art and Craft trail.

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