Stunning mural artwork from Property graduate

Giyong Zhu creates stunning artwork for the UCity building on Franklin St

Giyong Zhu (known as Zhuzhu) is a Master of Property graduate. She is also a mural artist, and she recently completed a commission by Uniting Communities that is getting incredibly positive feedback.

So how did she come to work with Uniting Communities? Zhuzhu is interested in the relationship between retirement village living environments and health and wellbeing. Her master's degree dissertation is A study of placemaking within metropolitan Adelaide retirement villages. Aware of this focus and her artistic background, she was recommended to them by Professor Veronica Soebarto, and very quickly a strong partnership was formed.

Uniting communities were looking for a mural artist to create artwork for their Smithfield office building. They invited Zhuzhu to provide mural concepts for that office, and then because they loved the ones she created and painted there they invited her to create this latest piece of work as well.

Aluminum birds along wall of stairs, above hand rail, leading to mother tree

This piece – Mother Tree - adorns the Ground Floor Stairwell East and South Wall leading to the First Floor in the UCity building on Franklin Street. It’s a beautiful installation representing unconditional love. As her artwork statement says, it depicts a sense of belonging and community.

It shows myriads of birds flying towards the mother tree and the inclusive mother tree unconditionally opening to every bird and allowing them to live on her body.

And it was made with love and care itself. Not only did Zhuzhu design the artwork herself, but she also made every single piece of it by hand (which includes 130 birds and the tree). She acquired many new skills for the project such as using CAD, flame painting copper, grinding, embossing, and brazing. She had the aluminium birds cut by a laser-cut company and the copper birds and mother tree by a waterjet company. All up, it took around three months to complete and install with the end product being well and truly worth it.


Close up of metal birds sitting in metal branches

Zhuzhu says this work reflects the relationship between Uniting Communities and the South Australian communities.

“The mother tree represents Uniting Communities, while birds represent diverse communities and individuals. The inclusive mother tree unconditionally provides a habitat for all the birds, which reflects Uniting Communities values of inclusiveness providing support to all the South Australian communities and individuals,” she said.

Zhuzhu graduated last December with a Master of Property at the University of Adelaide but finished a bachelor's degree in Mural art in China in 2011 with five years of art consultancy experience in Shanghai from 2011 to 2016. You can learn more about her background and her art on her website.

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