Seven colourful new mobile artworks, and one returning design from 1986, will course through Melbourne in October when the Melbourne International Arts Festival lets loose its 2019 art trams.
The art trams are a revival of the Transporting Art program that ran between 1978 and 1993, and produced 36 hand-painted tram designs.
This year’s designs include a recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper by Melbourne industrial designer Nyein Chan Aung – only this time the tableau is set in the Supper Inn.
Other trams feature Barkindji man Kent Morris’s single photograph taken while walking on country, mixed-media stencil and spray-can artist Vandal’s Marbaamarbaa garingali (multicoloured native dog) and a Keith Haring-influenced design from The Beaconhills Year 3 Collective.
Melbourne printmaker Sophie Westerman’s design derived from colour etchings explores themes of connection and isolation. Abstract colour, pattern and geometric blocks will make up academic and communication designer Gene Bawden’s contribution, which explores ambitions for diversity and inclusion in Melbourne. And Nusra Latif Qureshi’s design references antique French textile patterns.
A 1986 design from the original Transporting Art program by Lesley Dumbrell – a pioneer of the 1970s women’s art movement – will be resurrected. It takes inspiration from Dumbrell’s travels in Italy, where she was taken by the colours, costumes and music of a local festival.
The first tram will hit the tracks on October 8. The art trams will remain on Melbourne’s tram network until August 2020.