When Rachelle Dusting began her interest in making art in high school, she had no idea that it would bring her closer to home.
The local Perth, Western Australia artist has begun work on her largest project by size and largest in her career: a mural for Faith Community Church’s outer wall of its new Willeton church, telling the story of the natural environment that surrounds it and her personal connection to the suburb.
“This project has been really exciting, Ms Dusting said.
“I’ve chosen to emphasise on local flora and fauna, so really wanting to emphasise the native footprint of the City of Canning.”
“It’s got a lot of personal sentiment.”
“I’ve grown up in the area.”
Telling stories through art has been Rachelle’s passion and she was drawn to art because she believed it “enables conversation”.
“It is something that has enabled me to communicate my ideas and believes and my opinions,” Ms Dusting said.
“That was the form I could best express myself through.”
She loved portraiture because it gave her the opportunity to tell the stories of her subjects.
“I really have such a strong passion for portraiture because I love being able to communicate people’s stories and capture the essence and character of someone within artwork,” she said.
Narratives were a large part of Faith Community Church’s mural, particularly the natural environment where the church is being built.
“The design will display local banksia, local eucalyptus leaves and also the highlight which will be the red tail black cockatoo which is actually an endemic species and it’s local to the area of the City of Canning,” Ms Dusting said.
However, the mural features a more personal story: hers.
“The project is called ‘Close to Home’ which is a little bit of a metaphor for my experience growing up in the City of Canning,” Ms Dusting said.
“I’ve been a City of Canning resident for about 10 years or just over, so the project is really close to heart and close to home because I live within the area.”
She said it was a celebration of what home meant to her.
“A lot of these local wildlife sentiments have been part of what I’ve been in my every day and that’s what I wanted to create in this design, a celebration of the everyday.
The church is currently still under construction and painting the mural is still in the beginning stages, but Ms Dusting said there had been no shortage of support for her art work.
“So far we’ve been pretty high up to have personal conversations with passer-byers, but we’ve had a lot of honks and toots from local traffic,” she said.
“The response has been encouraging.”
Her assistant on the project Stephanie Crosby agreed and said it was it would provide a large contribution to Perth’s art community.
“It’s amazing,” Ms Crosby said.
“It’s so great to be part of the project like this and it’s just wonderful to see more art pieces like this going around.”
The project will take about six to eight weeks to complete, but Ms Dusting hopes that the mural will be up for a long time.
“Everything has a lifespan, but the hope is that the artwork will be up here for generations to come,” she said.