Street art illustrates Italian influence

Artist Guido van Helten with his mural of Angelo Valiante, one of the first Italians to settle in the Stanthorpe region.
Artist Guido van Helten with his mural of Angelo Valiante, one of the first Italians to settle in the Stanthorpe region. Contributed

STANTHORPE residents might notice a familiar face keeping a watchful eye over the town after the streetscape received a bold makeover at the weekend.

The Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, in partnership with First Coat Toowoomba, has unveiled a dynamic public artwork by Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten.

The work, a large portrait of Angelo Valiante, was completed over three days as part of the 2016 First Coat Arts and Music festival in Toowoomba, which has expanded to include ‘satellite murals’.

Mr Valiante, who turns 100 in November, was one of the first Italians to settle in Stanthorpe and the mural pays homage to the members of Italian community who have helped make the region what it is today.

Stanthorpe Art Gallery director Nicola Holly said the mural is a perfect representation of Mr Valiante and his passion for Stanthorpe.

“The way that Angelo looks out, there’s a sense of hope and pride in his eyes like he is looking out on the town of Stanthorpe,” she said.

“The artwork kind of centres on his eyes and you can take away what you want from that.”

Ms Holly said she was delighted with the new artwork and said the artist had done well to capture Mr Valiante’s sense of optimism.

“It was brilliant having someone of Guido’s considerable talent come and spend time in our region,” she said.

“He took his time completing the work and the emotion and passion that Angelo has for his town comes across in the dynamic details of his eyes.”

The mural was completed with thanks to Scott Mann who sourced the wall and All Cool Refrigeration for the use of the scissor lift.

Ms Holly hopes to install more public art works around town.

“Murals are the best way to uplift an area,” she said.

“Every time I drive past a wall I think of the possibilities that it has for street art. The goal is to have eight to 10 substantial murals in the region which will make for an arts trail for our visitors and locals alike.”

The mural has already captured the hearts of Stanthorpe residents, with crowds with braving the cold to at the weekend to watch Guido complete the work.

The piece has also gained a following on social media with hundreds of people liking and sharing the image.

Topics:  guido van helten nicola holly stanthorpe regional art gallery

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