The Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll has officially unveiled a huge 100 square metre mural at the Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP) in the prison's new running track and exercise yard area. Also in attendance at the unveiling ceremony were Ryan Phillips, Deputy Secretary, Corrections and Justice Services, Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety; Emma Cassar, Commissioner, Corrections Victoria; Gavin Blair, Acting General Manager, MAP; Shayne Morrall, Aboriginal Wellbeing Officer, MAP; Kent Morris, Chief Executive Officer, The Torch Program; and Aunty Zeta Thomson, Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri Elder.
In only two weeks during November 2019, four post-release artists from The Torch's Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program painted the large-scale mural which tells Wurundjeri creation stories. The design follows the Yarra River’s journey through various parts of Victoria, and features Bunjul the Creator and the Rainbow Serpent. It also depicts native Victorian animals such as Waa (the crow), platypus, Murray cod fish and echidnas, surrounded by ancestral spirits and native fauna. The artists tackled this major project under the guidance of Sean Miller, Indigenous Arts Officer for The Torch Program, and Tom Civil, Professional Mural Mentor.
The Torch’s statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program supports rehabilitation by generating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners to reconnect with family and culture. It also helps them to foster new networks and pursue educational and vocational opportunities after release.
This spectacular mural not only adds colour to what was previously a dull space at MAP, but also provides an excellent example for prisoners on what they can achieve after release.
Pictured in front of the mural (from left to right) are: Ryan Phillips, Emma Cassar, Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll, Kent Morris, and Shayne Morrall.