By Bridgette Glover Upon returning from your Easter break you may have noticed the latest exterior addition to the Psychology building on campus at UNE.
Before anyone could begin wondering if this had been some sort of protest against the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences the mural had been signed and clearly stamped “BCSS”.
The man behind the unusual (to UNE) art is Nathan Dawson, a UNE student who grew up in Glen Innes and after spending most of his twenties in Japan, who came back to study with the hope of becoming a Japanese and TESOL teacher at secondary schools.
The BCSS were taking expressions of interest in which artists had to submit a proposed design. “I was excited to receive an email from them saying that they had chosen my design for the mural”, says Dawson, who recalls the School saying they were looking for something “new, that had an edge.”
Dawson began the mural a week before Easter, and although he wasn’t able to work on it every day because of the weather, he had it finished Easter Friday.
To the surprise of many of the on campus community, the individuals in the mural are not based on any familiar faces.
“In designing the mural, I wanted it to be a representation of the Australian population, and also indicate a connection with psychology. I have included an elderly man, young woman, youngish man and a Muslim woman, because this was more of a cross-section of our society than the blond, blue eyed surfer or jackaroo that is so commonly depicted.”
“I purposely made the majority of the colours used in the mural various shades of grey, with only the eyes of the people being orange-red. I did this to draw the viewer’s eye to the eyes of the people in the mural as the eye is recognised as the window into the soul or mind of a person,” says Dawson, stating he thought it would be very appropriate for the building, “as psychology is a study of the mind.”
Although Dawson stands by his design being of four “generic specimens of human beings” he has heard people guess the elderly man resembling Sigmund Freud, as well as other people in the murals being lecturers. “Maybe the artwork is exactly how you interpret it, and you can tell something about the person viewing it, like an inkblot or something?”