Kensington artwork a feast for the eyes
04 December, 2017

Nuha Saad with her latest artwork Velvet Nostalgia

If the shapes in Nuha Saad’s latest vibrant artwork seem familiar it is probably because they are an indelible part of our nation’s recent cultural history.

Velvet Nostalgia’s towering posts are a feast for the eyes in bold, appealing colours that inspire feelings of positivity and wonder, and enliven the streetscape of Addison Street in Kensington.

Based on federation-style posts but with a Southern European twist, the artwork pays tribute to the influence of post-World War Two migration on Australia’s national identity.

Families often drew inspiration from the homes they left behind when building and decorating their new Australian properties, incorporating elements of classical Greek and Roman architecture such as balustrades, columns and porticoes.

“I was trying to tap into both the history of the area pre-migrants, but also the migrants as well so that when people saw the work they relate to it but maybe in a subconscious, intuitive way,” Nuha said.

“Those places are slowly disappearing from our neighbourhoods as these properties change hands and are renovated or demolished to make way for new developments, so it’s sort of a way of reinserting that architectural history.”

“It’s a shame we are removing that history, but more than that, is taking that ornament, that colour, that pattern away, is it taking something else away from our environment? I don’t know the answer to that but I think maybe it does, maybe having those patterns and colour around does add something without us knowing and it just enriches our environment in general.”

With the tallest post standing at 2.4 metres, the artwork is hard to miss, a fact aided by the gloriously bold colour palette.

Nuha is renowned for her uplifting public artworks and use of vibrant colours to create joyful spaces for communities to admire and enjoy.

Some of her most recognisable works include the Wulaba Park playground in Green Square, the Skippedy Skip fence and bus shelter at Glebe Public School, and recent works at Marrickville High School and Rothschild Ave in Rosebery.

But there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Nuha’s use of colour in Velvet Nostalgia, with a subtle shifting of tones referencing the title’s deeper meaning.

“The multi-coloured column is painted with the pure tone of the colour and with each subsequent column next to it I added white to a colour in that first column,” she said.

“I do that as a way of referencing memory and how with time memories can fade, it’s like you’ve got that pure memory initially and over time it does start to fade.”

The work’s title is also a reference to the softening of memories with the passage of time, like the comforting blurry touch of velvet.

Velvet Nostalgia is the sixth of seven artworks installed at sites along Anzac Parade in Kingsford and Kensington.

ArtMoves is a public art project designed to transform the streets of Kingsford and Kensington with sculptures, street art, outdoor furniture and landscape designs, creating fresh spaces for the community to enjoy.

The art is transforming the streets by encouraging locals and visitors to explore the area and use these spaces in new ways.

For more information visit our ArtMoves page.

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