Creative mural pinpoints the essence of Yaraka

Yaraka's character revealed in photo mural

Life & Style
Heavy lifters: Visiting tourists were roped in to help lift the mural panels into place at the Yaraka Hotel on the weekend. Pictures: Sally Cripps.

Heavy lifters: Visiting tourists were roped in to help lift the mural panels into place at the Yaraka Hotel on the weekend. Pictures: Sally Cripps.

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To a first-time casual visitor, the tiny township of Yaraka nestled in the shadow of the Yang Yang Range south west of Blackall offers only a quaint pub and a beautiful view atop the nearby Mt Slocombe, but a new mural is set to change all that.

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To a first-time casual visitor, the tiny township of Yaraka nestled in the shadow of the Yang Yang Range south west of Blackall offers only a quaint pub and a beautiful view atop the nearby Mt Slocombe, but a new mural is set to change all that.

Twelve people from Longreach, Blackall and Yaraka, as well as two caravanning travellers, spent last weekend documenting the village.

They were using collage and creative photography techniques under the guidance of Pottsville tutor Ken Ball.

The Yaraka hall was converted into a studio on the weekend, with light boxes glowing and printers busy with vellum paper to create the semi-abstract finished product.

It's because it's Yaraka that it worked. - Ken Ball

“I’m honestly amazed we pulled it off in two days,” said the man who has experienced life as a Vietnam War correspondent. “Twelve people, 12 talents, all with different visions – it’s because it’s Yaraka that it worked. I don’t think we could have done this in a bigger centre.”

Ken got his first taste of the community’s unique spirit in 2014 when invited by Mary Killeen to share the art of creative photography, challenging conventional photographers to blur their work, smear lenses with Vaseline and hair spray, try colour filters and layer their images.

Workshop participants came from Longreach, Blackall, Esk and local areas to work with tutor Ken Ball.

Workshop participants came from Longreach, Blackall, Esk and local areas to work with tutor Ken Ball.

A year later, after another workshop added collage to the mix, the idea of the mural came to Ken while he was relaxing at the pub.

“What surprised me when I came to town in 2014 was how the locals saw their town. When given the task of documenting it, they see so much in it.

“Now I urge anyone within a 300km radius to come and look at the finished product at the pub. It’s another unique part of a special community.”

A book documenting the project has also been produced.

There were plenty of creative photography opportunities for participants such as Longreach's Blythe Moore over the weekend.

There were plenty of creative photography opportunities for participants such as Longreach's Blythe Moore over the weekend.

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