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16 August 2017

The much beloved Melbourne Arts Trams project returns soon, with eight new artworks to grace trams around Melbourne from October onwards.

2017 Melbourne Art Tram, design by Jennifer McAllister

2017 Melbourne Art Tram, design by Justine McAllister

Now in its fifth year, the Melbourne Arts Trams project sees working trams in the city of Melbourne ‘wrapped’ with monumental artworks that are selected through an open submissions process.

In 2017, the selected artists are Bushra Hasan, Emma Anna, Josh Muir, Justine McAllister, Matthew Clarke, Oliver Hutchinson, Robert Owen and the St Albans Heights Primary School and Community Hub — each with a unique vision for art on the move.

2017 Melbourne Art Trams Artists

Bushra Hasan – An artist and graphic designer whose art is inspired by popular Indian street and tribal art. The inspiration for her tram design Tramjatra comes from her love for Melbourne’s trams and the unique friendship between the tram-loving communities of Kolkata (India) and Melbourne, and partnership with Melbourne trammie, Roberto D’Andrea.

Emma Anna - A visual artist and creative producer whose work draws upon a diverse range of professional and personal experience. She uses tools of language, popular culture, humour, universal symbolism and everyday technologies to help define both place and community. The Language of Fracture is made from the repeated mirroring of an image drawn from an ongoing series of street art paintings.

Josh Muir – An Indigenous artist who is a two-time winner of the National Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Awards: People’s Choice Award as well as the Hutchinson Scholarship: 12-month artist residency, Victorian College of the Arts. His tram design narrates the story of William Buckley, the ‘wild white man’: an escaped English convict who lived with the Wathaurong people for many years.

Justine McAllister - An illustrator, artist and muralist. Specialising in large-scale murals and digital illustration, her pieces are bold, playful and almost always centred around a sense of a character. Her design explores the idea of the diverse Melbourne tram traveller along with her own travel history – she visited the ten tram stops that have played a significant part in her life in Melbourne, and photographed ten travellers that frequently use the same stops.

Matthew Clarke – An artist from South West Victoria, inspired by the environment and people around him. His design, Lost in Melbourne is about Melbourne`s size, colours, proportions, life and the streetscapes that - for him as an artist from the country, with a mild intellectual disability and mental illness - can be both exciting and overwhelming. The major figure in the design is his friend and mentor, artist Glenn Morgan who often accompanies Warrnambool artists to inner Melbourne to experience art, culture and night life.

Oliver Hutchinson – An emerging artist whose design is intended to allow those on the street outside a tram to share the momentary experiences and connections of those inside. A spectrographic encoding is created using a generative algorithm which translates a video capture of the side view of the entire journey along the tram route into an abstract colour field.

Robert Owen - A renowned Australian artist who studied sculpture at the National Art School, Sydney. Beautiful Stranger is a continuation of Robert Owen’s celebrated series ‘Music for the Eyes’, inspired by jazz, movement and light.  It plays homage to the history of jazz in Melbourne, and extends Owen’s exploration of art’s capacity to translate mood and emotion through colour. The title comes from Melbourne’s proudly diverse multicultural population that travel and blend on the trams everyday, with chance encounters between strangers.

St Albans Heights Primary School and Community Hub - Parents from St Albans Heights Primary School in the north-west of Melbourne collectively developed the design for this artwork. In a workshop parents saw similarities in their school community to the wider Melbourne community that they wanted to capture— the parents come from 38 different backgrounds and most of speak a language other than English. Coloured squares were inspired by Andy Warhol’s pop art which captures playfulness, diversity and inspires imagination—just like the school.

The first of the 2017 trams will hit the tracks on Thursday 5 October with the other seven soon to follow. They will remain on our streets until April 2018.

Melbourne Art Trams is presented as part of the Melbourne Festival, in partnership with Creative Victoria, Public Transport Victoria and Yarra Trams. The much beloved project is a revival of the Transporting Art project that ran between 1987 and 1993.

Read more about Melbourne Art Trams