Since its inception in 1910, the Alliance Francaise of Adelaide has grown to become the beating heart of French language and culture in South Australia. To celebrate his 110th anniversary, the Alliance Francaise wanted to commemorate its history with a mural painting by the Aboriginal Australian artist Elizabeth Yanyi Close, that will have a lasting impact and celebrate the arts: transforming a drab brick wall into an artistic piece for all to enjoy.
Elizabeth is a Panaka Skin Anangu woman from the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Language Groups, whose family links are to the communities of Pukutja and Amata in the APY Lands. Her work can be seen around South Australia, as well as a special piece in the French city of Cherbourg to celebrate their relationship with Adelaide.
About The Piece by Elizabeth Close
“This work is, at its heart, about collaboration. It celebrates the relationship between Australia and France, and is informed by the achievements of Alliance Française d’Adelaide over the past 110 years in South Australia.
It is a reflection of Alliance Francaise d’Adelaide’s acknowledgement of First Australians and the importance they place on the ancient and enduring relationship that Aboriginal Australia has with this continent reflecting the Alliance Francaise d’Adelaide’s deep respect for aboriginal culture. It further acknowledges the arrival of multicultural communities to Australia and the deep respect for these cultures.
The palette draws from the French, Australian and Aboriginal Flags, and the texture in the background reflects shapes and textures found in nature. The texture also reflects the elements of earth and water, representing the vast distance over oceans and landscapes between our two nations.
The dots on the inside represent the Alliance Francaise d’Adelaide staff, and the colourful dashes on the inside represent diversity and Australian multicultural community. The tower is an abstract yet obvious reference to the Eiffel Tower, celebrating the importance of French Australian connections.
The yellow circle on the right represents the Sun, giver of life and central part of all life – it also shines on both nations and is a unifying force. The white dots at the top represent the Milky Way – another unifying force that underlines our sameness – whilst we all come from very different cultures and ways of life, we are all very much the same under the sun and the Milky Way.”