The work of a young Indigenous artist from Bendigo will adorn a Melbourne street as part of a fundraiser for the Royal Children's Hospital.
Sharlee Dunolly-Lee is one of 100 artists chosen to paint a sculpture for the Royal Children's Hospital's 150th anniversary art trail.
The sculpture is a creature called a 'UooUoo', created by Victorian artist Alexander Knox.
The UooUoos will be placed in public places to form walking trails in Melbourne and Geelong early next year, and will then be auctioned to raise money for the hospital.
To paint the UooUoo, Sharlee adapted a painting she created for her VCE art final, titled Rainbow Country.
The colourful piece was "kind of a map", the Dja Dja Wurrung woman said, of meeting places, cities, roads, riverbeds and cultural sites she came across while travelling throughout Victoria over the course of a year and connecting to her culture.
Sharlee said she had been growing her style in Indigenous art for about two years, since she was in Year 11 at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.
She likes to combine traditional colours with more contemporary colours, and each of them represents an emotion.
"I think art for me is a very emotional and connecting process," she said, where she could "put everything in my mind and heart on the canvas".
Sharlee - a descendant of famous Aboriginal rights activist Thomas Dunolly - said her Indigenous heritage was not something she discovered at a really young age.
At the age of about 15 or 16, she said, she had the opportunity to learn cultural dances and songs, a "really eye-opening experience" which triggered a close connection to her culture and heritage.
Sharlee said it was after that she learnt more about Aboriginal art and grew into her style.
Sharlee applied to paint a UooUoo at the suggestion of her colleague and fellow artist, Castlemaine's Melinda Harper.
The UooUoo presented a new challenge, as until that point she had worked only with 2D canvases.
Sharlee said the work took her about three to four months of painting on and off, and she was "really happy with it".
Currently, the UooUoos are expected to go on display in Melbourne and Geelong from January 20 to March 21, 2021.
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