Australian artist Claire Foxton has painted a new mural on the Merivale Bridge, just in time for the Bridge’s recent 40th birthday. Queensland Rail Community Artist Dan Brock commissioned the artwork, which features an intricate portrait of the second generation Parmalat milk factory worker Andy Birgan, through the Queensland Rail’s Pillars Project.
The Pillars Project commenced in 2014 when nine artists painted eight pillars underneath the Merivale Bridge starting on Montague Road and snaking through down to the Go Between Bridge and the Brisbane River. With a new mural now being painted each year, artists to feature as part of the project include Fintan Magee, Simon DeGroot, Guido van Helton, Drapl, Rone, Jonathan Beer aka Gimiks Born, Mik Shida, Adnate and now Claire Foxton.
Dan admires the latest collection of colour to adorn the Merivale rail bridge. “For me, this is as South Brisbane as it gets. You’ve got a mural of Andy who’s worked at the milk factory for 30 years on a bridge that’s been around for 40 years,” said Dan. “This year we wanted to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Merivale Bridge and do something that really embodied South Brisbane as much as Merivale does,” noted Dan. “So when Claire came through with the idea to put Andy, a huge supporter of the Pillars Project, on the next mural, we were thrilled.”
“When I got the news from Dan that I’d be doing the next mural, I was very excited to put paint to brush and to create a piece that celebrates Brisbane’s one-of-a-kind story and its people. It was a huge canvas with plenty of potential,” Claire said. “Andy is truly one of those genuine characters and someone who has been a long-time supporter of the Pillars Project. These are the kinds of people I like to bring to the surface – the people behind the scenes, with big hearts and even bigger personalities. Here’s a great bloke who’s worked at the Parmalat milk factory for 30 years. For me both he and the mural are symbols of the workers who have lived through the social and cultural changes in the South Brisbane area.”
Readers also enjoyed this story about the collaborative exhibition, VERGE Collective.