Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient

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Artists add a splash of colour to Statewide Child Inpatient Unit

Artists add a splash of colour to Statewide Child Inpatient Unit

A bright underwater-themed mural is bringing a splash of colour to the courtyard of Austin Health's Statewide Child Inpatient Unit, thanks to a team of local and interstate artists - and the creative energy of the unit's clinicians.

Acting Unit Manager Adam Blake (far left in the photo) has been working for 12 months on securing funding and organising the project, and says that "it's really good to have a project like this come to fruition."

The mural was painted by a team led by internationally-renowned Melbourne artist Mike Makatron (mike.makatron on Instagram), who brought in other artists from Melbourne and Byron Bay to contribute to the artwork. The four artists completed the work in just three days.

Although the piece was only finished over the weekend, Mr. Blake said that it is already attracting a lot of attention from children, families and staff.

"The feedback has been really positive, from everyone from the children to our Divisional Director. The first thing that people say is ‘ooh, it's very bright!' It's showing a fresh perspective for the Statewide Child Unit," Mr. Blake says.

"What we wanted was to provide a piece of art that represents how we work now; moving away from the white walls of a clinical space to thinking and doing things in a more creative way," says Mr. Blake.

"It's going to be a talking point for many years. A lot of children and families will look at this work and feel a sense of hope," he says.

Child Unit staff contributed ideas towards the artwork's theme, and Mr. Blake says that "it was really important to us to keep the Aboriginal flag, and continue to identify that we're on Wurundjeri land."

Taubman's donated the paint for the work, and construction firm Built., who are currently working on construction projects at Austin Hospital, provided staff to paint the undercoat, and replace the basketball ring and cubby house pro bono.

The Statewide Child Inpatient Unit works with children up to 12 years of age and their families who are seeking assistance for severe emotional, behavioural and relationship difficulties.

Mural artists Mike Makatron (front), with Gema, Austin and Ari.Mural artists (L-R): Gema, Austin, Mike Makatron and Ari.