• arts & culture

5 August 2016

Eight striking mobile pieces of art are planned for the 2016 Melbourne Art Trams season, with a new community tram devoted to the destroyed historical Smith Street feminist mural.

A photo of a Melbourne Art Tram

2016 Melbourne Art Tram

Now in its fourth year, this much loved project transforms the iconic tram into dynamic public artworks with a selection of diverse designs that display a unique reflection of the selected artists own vision of Melbourne.

A host of exciting local artists have been selected for this year's Melbourne Art Trams project including Joceline Lee, Eddie Botha, Jon Cattapan, Reko Rennie, Mimi Leung, Damiano Bertoli and emerging artist Eliza Dyball. For the first time, a community tram has been introduced inspired by the celebrated 1986 Smith Street mural by Megan Evans and Eve Glenn.

This year's artists were selected by a curatorial panel from Melbourne Festival, Creative Victoria, Public Transport Victoria, Yarra Trams and 2013 Melbourne Art Trams emerging artist, Freya Pitt. Introducing the 2016 artists:

Reko Rennie – An interdisciplinary artist who explores his Aboriginal identity through contemporary mediums. His work exhibited in Australia and internationally including the 2015 Venice Biennale, his art provokes discussion surrounding indigenous culture and identity in contemporary urban environments. Rennie's tram design will carry a strong message about aboriginal life in Melbourne

Damiano Bertoli – A prize-winning sculpture artist with work most recently exhibited as part of Heide Museum of Art's Dancing Umbrellas, Damiano's tram design is an extension of 'Associates', an ongoing project that combines visual motifs and textile designs by the Memphis group, an industrial design collective from Milan from the 1970's.

Joceline Lee – As an artist with Downs Syndrome and someone who has not had access to the usual channels of art training and education, Joceline developed her skills in a little known community centre in Dingley with work exhibited in group and solo exhibitions since 2008. Incorporating her studies of bone structure from an Artist Residency in the Paleontology Collection at Melbourne Museum, her tram will incorporate her experience of these artefacts, displaying the skeletons viewed by millions of visitors to the city every year.

Eddie Botha – A South African born mixed media artist and illustrator using paint, pen, newspaper and collage, Eddie's work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at Lane's End Projects with solo exhibition, Artronica. Eddie's tram is inspired by street art and aims to replicate Melbourne's urban environment with its many facets, avenues, characters and moods depicted with intricate, intimate scenes filled with a display of characters who colour the everyday streets.

Jon Cattapan – An extensively exhibited visual artist with works found in all Australian state museums and regional galleries, his paintings, prints and drawings primarily portray the social dynamics of how human beings claim space or territory within the environment. Jon's design will act as a mobile paint palette that references aspects of Melbourne's setting and its layered digital space in abstract ways.

Mimi Leung – A Hong Kong born artist, painter, illustrator and printmaker residing in Shepparton, Mimi's movement driven works have appeared in numerous exhibitions and editorial including The New York Times, Dazed and Confused, The Guardian, Vice, Mute Magazine and more. Through her design she aims to celebrate the tram as an unusual, distinctive and authentic place where audience and artists are intertwined creating an immersive experience through a show of colour and fluidity.

Eliza Dyball – Visual artist and 2014 Gertrude Contemporary alumna currently undertaking a Master of Fine Art Research at Victorian College of the Arts, Eliza's work explores rules, parameters and constructed limits that exist in relation to space and subject. Her design - a striking gold curtain - will create a travelling stage representing the theatre of everyday life, seeking to frame the city's tram goers as the audience in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia.

Megan Evans & Eve Glenn - The Women's Mural - From Bonboniere to Barbed Wire - In 1986 Megan Evans and Eve Glenn created a giant mural depicting Northcote women on the side of the Gas and Fuel depot wall on the corner of Hodgkinson and Smith Street, but earlier this year it was heavily graffitied leading to a large public outcry. Melbourne Art Trams first community tram will pay tribute to this important work that represented the many and varied females of every kind within the city.

A revival of the Transporting Art project that ran between 1987 and 1993, Melbourne Art Trams is made possible through a creative partnership between Melbourne Festival, Creative Victoria and Public Transport Victoria in collaboration with Yarra Trams.

The Art Trams will remain on the tracks until April 2017. A People's Choice Award will be announced following the release of all eight trams onto the network in October.

Visit the Melbourne Festival website to read more and cast your vote