Local artist Kim Michelle Toft in front of the huge mural outside the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina Byron.
Local artist Kim Michelle Toft in front of the huge mural outside the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina Byron.

Beautiful whales pop up on street corner

LOCAL artist Kim Michelle Toft exclaimed in delight as a personal career dream, 33 years in the making, unfolded in front of her eyes on the corner of Martin and Fawcett Street in Ballina.

A 10m x 4m mural depicting the magical sea life gracing our shores is now a permanent fixture along the side of the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina Byron.

"I do feel I have reached a pinnacle and I am proud of the image" the Sea Silks Gallery owner said.

"I am so excited, and it has just turned out so beautifully."

Ms Toft said there was a deeper purpose to the mural than just beautification of the CBD as she wanted the message from her environmentally conscious children's books to be shared even further.

"I've always been a huge supporter of public art installations and write and illustrate children's books about the environment and have done so for the last 30 years," she said.

"I paint all my illustrations on silk and I had the idea of doing a large mural somewhere in a public place to help promote healthy oceans and healthy waterways seeing as we live in such a beautiful part of the world here in the Northern Rivers."

She said she wanted our community to move forward with a positive hopeful outlook as we try to tackle the environmental challenges ahead of us.

Local artist Kim Michelle Toft in front of the huge mural outside the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina Byron.
Local artist Kim Michelle Toft in front of the huge mural outside the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina Byron. Marc Stapelberg

"It is just to remind people how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world and how important it is that we do our part to keep it way," she said.

"It is like a subminimal message and it is bright, cheerful and colourful."

"I have done a series of activity sheets for children which will also be available at my gallery and at the tourist information centre if people are coming through Ballina."

The actual painting was done a couple of months ago and painted on 2.5m x 1m silk and then photographed at high resolution and printed four times up in size on shade sail material.

It features all the marine creatures that live or frequent this region including humpback whales, green turtles, bottlenose dolphins and all the fish, and the coral that are found in and around Julian Rocks.

"I want to capture their soul.

"I wanted to capture their hearts and essence, and their importance in the scheme of things and I think I achieved that by giving them a real personality."


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