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Mural for Her Majesty's Theatre

January 2021

The Adelaide Festival Centre as part of the $66 million redevelopment of Her Majesty's Theatre commissioned South Australian artist Yvonne East to produce a 130sqm mural design on the northern wall of Her Majesty's.  

Yvonne spent more than 200 hours on the mural ­– a bouquet of South Australian native plant species, including blue gum, purple cockatoo and beaked hakea.

Yvonne, who was born in Meningie and spent most of her life in South Australia until moving to Sydney six years ago, has an impressive resume as an artist, with her portrait of Chief Justice Susan Kiefel acquired last year by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Her works have been shortlisted for major art prizes – including the Archibald and the Dobell Drawing Prize – and she has completed a number of other murals, such as the one on the wall of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.

She first exhibited at the Adelaide Festival Centre's Artspace Gallery in 2012. She also has a love of musical theatre and is especially fond of Her Majesty's Theatre, where she saw her first musical, A Chorus Line, as a 16-year-old.

“As her relationship with the centre continues to develop so does her art,” Adelaide Festival Centre senior exhibitions curator Charissa Davies says of Yvonne.

“She seemed the perfect fit to create such an incredible mural to celebrate the new Her Majesty's Theatre. What could be more fitting than a bouquet of native South Australian flowers to celebrate the new stunning performing arts venue?”

Yvonne's concept for the mural, which is on a rear wall of Her Majesty's Theatre and visible via Rowlands Place, was inspired partly by a theatre tradition.

“I was thinking that at the end of the performance the lady gets a big bouquet of flowers, so I thought how about if I do a bouquet of flowers so it's like at the end of the show; being at the back of the building, it's like a thank-you to her Majesty's Theatre herself.

“So it's a bouquet of flowers for the grand old dame, which is Her Majesty's Theatre because she's so beloved by South Australians.

“With the flowers, I could have gone with lilies or roses, but one thing I hope that people get out of the mural is the fascinating shapes, the incredible intricacies and the interesting qualities that you can only find in South Australia; our native flowers are so interesting.

“I think it gives the work a little bit of an edge as well… for example, there's an orchid called a nodding greenhood that looks a little bit kind of alien-esque. So maybe when people are walking through Mount Lofty (Botanic) Garden they can see a nodding greenhood and say, 'that's a native South Australian orchid', because they're beautiful, special kind of flowers.”
In addition to the native flowers, the mural also features three South Australian butterflies: the fiery jewel, common grass blue and wattle blue.

(extract from In Daily 21st January 2021, written by Suzie Keen)