The first Melbourne Art Tram for 2019 hit the tracks this morning, featuring an illustration of one of the city’s favourite late night restaurants. Industrial designer and artist Nyein Chan Aung’s tram design titled The Late Supper depicts an interpretation of the iconic Leonardo da Vinci painting The Last Supper. In a similar format to the famous painting featuring Jesus Christ with his apostles, Aung’s tram features customers dining at Melbourne’s renowned Supper Inn Chinese restaurant.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley launched the tram this morning which will greet commuters on the 5, 6, 16, 58 and 72 routes. It is the first of eight art trams that will be rolled out this October and stay on the tracks until August 2020 as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.
“Melbourne has the world’s largest tram network where 200-million-plus trips are taken each year,” said Minister Foley. “These Art Trams are a great way to brighten commuters’ days with some of the best contemporary art Victoria has to offer. The trams show that Melbourne isn’t just as a city where cultural experiences only exist inside galleries, museums and theatres – it’s a city where creativity is waiting for you at the tram stop.”
The public art project, now in its seventh year, is a revival and re-imagining of the seminal Transporting Art program which ran from 1978 to 1993 and resulted in 36 hand-painted trams being rolled out across the Melbourne network.
This year’s Melbourne Art Trams shine a spotlight on a diverse cross-section of artists. In addition to Nyein Chan Aung, this year’s crop includes artist and photographer Kent Morris, street and stencil artist Vandal, printmaker Sophie Westerman, communications designer Gene Bawden and painter Nusra Latif Qureshi.
The 2019 Community art tram will display the colourful work of a collective of year 3 students from Beaconhills Primary in Berwick and in a nod to the celebrated history of the Transporting Art initiative, this year’s Art Trams will also include a reimagining of the tram artist Lesley Dumbrell originally painted in 1986.
Melbourne Art Trams is made possible through a creative partnership between Melbourne International Arts Festival, Creative Victoria and Public Transport Victoria in collaboration with Yarra Trams and Principal Partner Officeworks.
“The Melbourne Art Trams are a core part of the Festival’s visual arts program, providing a unique platform for creativity for Victorian artists,” said Melbourne International Arts Festival Artistic Director, Jonathan Holloway. “We are thrilled with this year’s designs which shine a light on our city as the arts capital of Australia.”
The first tram hit the tracks today, Tuesday 8 October with the other seven soon to follow and they will remain on our streets until August 2020. A People’s Choice Award will be announced following the release of the trams, with the public able to vote for their favourite tram. For more information, visit: www.festival.melbourne for details.
Image: Nyein Chan Aung with his tram design, The Late Supper – photo by James HH Morgan