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Story / Corporate 14 Mar 2017

Students create water colours to eliminate graffiti

Regular road commuters through South Strathfield can attest to what was an ugly expanse of Colourbond fencing, defaced by graffiti, at 100 Liverpool Road.

Many would be quick to blame the vandalism on local youths, but the reality is that students at South Strathfield High School have created a great solution.

In collaboration with Sydney Water, Strathfield Council and Australian Catholic Universities the students have transformed the “ugly entry to the area” into a work of art with a message.

“The graffiti covered fence on Liverpool Road provided a very poor first impression to the South Strathfield area,” said Strathfield Mayor Andrew Soulos.

“The students, with help from Sydney Water, the Council and Australian Catholic University were able to transform the area into an aesthetic artwork – ‘Water is Life’,” said Mayor Soulos.

Strathfield South High School Principal Simon Paterson said that “students were tired of being judged by poor behaviour and for being possible culprits of what was seen previously on the graffiti ridden fences.

“Many of the students originate from families where there has been a refugee experience and in their family memory there is a strong understanding of how essential clean, plentiful water is to the outcomes we have in life. They come from cultures where the meaning of “Water is Life” is only too often a day-to-day issue.

“The students are very excited at the prospect of seeing their visions move to the public domain,” said Principal Paterson.

“My Dad is from Nigeria” said 14 year old Crystal “and he has often told us about having to boil water before being able to drink it. We need to be grateful for having a safe, plentiful supply of water on tap,” she said.

Baran, whose parents are from Turkey recalls his mother telling him about the women in his mother’s family having to collect water from a central supply in their village. He participated in this project to encourage people to minimise the waste of water and value this incredible resource.

Lara, whose family is from Lebanon and Syria wanted us all to make better choices in regard to an essential resource so that we can ensure supply for future generations.

Paul Mulley, Manager City Shaping at Sydney Water said that this has been a highly collaborative community project.

“We are delighted that Sydney Water has been a part of this event and to be able to share some of the excitement and community pride that we anticipate will flow on from our project.

“The student’s artwork is thought provoking and emphasises how lucky we are in Sydney to have safe and high quality drinking water at our finger tips,” said Mr Mulley.

Sydney Water made the project possible by providing the opportunity to work on their property and by providing much of the material. Australian Catholic University supported students in designing the images. Strathfield Council facilitated and project managed Water is Life. The students of Strathfield South High School were the creative energy behind the project.

The first brush strokes were applied in mid-October 2016.