From Narrogin Observer, Wednesday, September 25, 1996
©Narrogin Observer

Colourful banners a community resource

The fruits of the labours of the feather banner project were on display for all of Narrogin to see last Friday.

Narrogin Anglican Church of the resurrection's grounds on the corner of Federal and Park streets made an ideal sloping glebe to display the creativity of around 20 people.

Fourteen banners fluttered in just the right breeze, forming a panoply of colour and movement.

In fact they became positively hazardous, with passing motorists obviously losing concentration on the road.

The driver of one Mandurah-plated four-wheel drive nearly craned her neck off and inevitably returned to park and more closely inspect the colourful banners which will have their next airing at Narrogin Spring festival.

Artist-in-resident Chris Williamson, his team of banner makers and some of their banners
Artist-in-resident Chris Williamson, his team of banner makers and some of their banners displayed last Friday.

Made from colourful and colour fast sailcloth, the banner, resembling nothing more than huge, Technicolor quill pens are the result of three weeks' intensive design and work at the Railway Institute Building. Local craftspeople have designed their own banners and stitched them together. Around 20 people became involved in the project and their work formed a superb display on Friday.

Rector of the Narrogin Anglican parish who gave permission for the banners to be displayed in the church grounds said the banners were 'like having stained glass windows outside'.

Catalyst for the project was expatriate Englishman Chris Williamson, the towns artist-in-residence overseeing the project for the three weeks. A freelance artist from the State's south-west, he claims to be Western Australia's only banner artist.He has overseen other banner projects, but is particularly gratified with the result of the result in Narrogin. 'The depth of commitment has been enormous', he said. 'More than 1000 person hours are involved with an enormous amount of time, energy and enthusiasm. What they've created is an artistic community resource with its own artistic validity which is accessible to people.

Nyungah women Joyce Winsley and Mavis Bolton with their bardi grub banner
Nyungah women Joyce Winsley and Mavis Bolton with their bardi grub banner.

'They attract people because colour and movement tend to weave a spell. I can say without fear of contradiction that the character, liveliness and happiness of these banners is greater than in any other feather banner project I have been involved with'.

One of the makers was Lee Thomson. 'It was a wonderful project, even though I say that about all community projects', Mrs Thomson said. 'Half the pleasure is that you are doing it with like-minded people. I thought that chris williamson was one of the best prepared and well-organised tutors. His group motivation was excellent'.