A magical mosaic

From left: Julie Dowe from Selby Primary School, mosaic artist Belinda Conibeer, Steve Hall from Selby Primary School, Andrea Williams from Selby Community House committee and Yarra Ranges councillor Mike Clarke.

The Selby Community House unveiled its colossal six-month mosaic project on Saturday 17 November.

The 11 metre long mosaic reflects the local environment and the native flora and fauna which inhabit Minak Reserve situated next to the community house.

Earlier this year, the community house organised the mosaic to be displayed in its Community Indigenous Bushfoods Garden, and invited community members both young and old to contribute.

Karl Williams, finance officer at the house, said that Selby Primary School, the local church and disability groups contributed to the mosaic.

“It’s been going for almost six months and while it’s been overseen by Selby Community House, the mosaic has been broken into separate modules for individual community groups to contribute and create,” he said.

“It’s been wonderfully diverse and inclusive … people of all ages, whether artistic or not, have played a part in this, and while the end product is a stunning work of art, the real agenda of the community house was to bring community members together.”

The house received funding through Yarra Ranges Council’s 2018 Grants for Community, which Mr Williams said was essential to getting the project off the ground.

“Yarra Ranges Council generously funded the project but there have been hundreds of hours of volunteer work and many local suppliers donated tiles and grouting and material,” he said.

“It’s really given us this opportunity – we’ve put in a lot of in-kind hours and had a lot of donations. These things put together have just created a magnificent project.”

On the day of the unveiling, a number of active environment groups were present who helped with the mosaic including Friends of Minak Reserve, for which the Selby Community House has raised more than $4000 dollars to help to upgrade their walking track.

The Minak Reserve is included in the mosaic design, and local artist Nikki Wellington ensured that the flora and fauna that inhabit the reserve were included in the mosaic.

“On the mosaic is a lyrebird and vast array of other bird life, wallabies, and insects and, of course, native flora,” Mr Williams said.

He said the final product was a fantastic work of art that would remain on the Selby Community House walls for years to come.

“Nobody knew what the final product was going to look like and only now has it come together and the outcome has stunned everyone,” he said.

  • Sandra

    This is a magnificent mosaic and how lucky is the community of Selby to have this to enjoy for many years to come. But sadly, after reading the article, I was absolutely “gobsmacked” to find that Belinda Conibeer, who was the actual mosaic artist commissioned to produce this beautiful work of art, was not even mentioned or thanked in this article, other than her name under the photo with others. Belinda spent over 180 hours working on this project with members of the community, as well as often having to do it on her own when there was no one else willing or able to help. I know this for a fact as I am one of Belinda’s students along with several more of her students who helped out when we could, even though we are not part of the Selby community. Credit where credit is due and I can only imagine how Belinda must be feeling after reading the article, which appears to completely ignore her immense contribution.

  • Kristy Ansell

    I agree that this beautiful mosaic had input from many members of the community, and what a wonderful way to bring the community together and engender pride and unity. However, even though I lost count of the amount of spelling mistakes, poor grammar and names inconsistency, but the “journalist” failed to acknowledge the mosaic artist and entire project co-ordination, Ms Belinda Conibeer. Was her name too hard for your writing talents to spell correctly? I’m utterly appalled that you left her out. Belinda’s energy and passion was maintained throughout the project and the end result of this creative project would not have been achieved without it. Belinda, on a personal note, you did a phenomenal job! And all of us who had the privilege of working on a tiny bit of this beautiful creation, applaud you!

    • Sandra

      Exactly Kristy, I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Debbie

    Its really a shame belinda didnt get recognized for all her hard work and long hours . I think thought alot more thought and consideration should of gone into this article

  • Lynn

    What a fantastic piece of artwork for the community. Excellent vision from the artist Ms Belinda Conibeer with co-ordination of all the local assistants. Well done team.

  • LindaH

    Such a beautiful piece of artwork. A lot of time, effort and community pride was put into the mosaic. It is such an oversight that Belinda Coniber’s, the artist, was not given any recognition for her talented and generous work. Well done, Belinda

  • Wilma

    I totally agree with Debbie , Kristy and Sandra. The mastermind behind this whole concept got very little recognition, and very little support from the community centre itself. A true masterpiece, with the help of many volunteers, Belinda managed to muster up herself, and drive this project to meet completion date.

  • Sandra

    This is a magnificent mosaic and how lucky is the community of Selby to have this to enjoy for many years to come. But sadly, after reading the article, I was absolutely “gobsmacked” to find that Belinda Conibeer, who was the actual mosaic artist commissioned to produce this beautiful work of art, was not even mentioned or thanked in this article, other than her name under the photo with others. Belinda spent over 180 hours working on this project with members of the community, as well as often having to do it on her own when there was no one else willing or able to help. I know this for a fact as I am one of Belinda’s students along with several more of her students who helped out when we could, even though we are not part of the Selby community. Credit where credit is due and I can only imagine how Belinda must be feeling after reading the article, which appears to completely ignore her immense contribution.

  • Linda Archinal

    While a terrific accomplishment it takes an incredible amount of experience, design, layout, tiles, adhesive, grout and organization plus drive to get a large community mosaic to completion. While I am sure that all the above named were involved you left out acknowledging the person who I am 100% positive did the majority of the work. Artist Belinda Conibeer. I helped to advise/work with her many years ago on getting funding for a community mosaic and that alone is an amazing amount of work. Congratulations Belinda – another beauty for your communities to enjoy and take pride in for years to come.
    To the Ranges Trader Mail I suggest you add to this article and publish your error then take the time to do a separate article on Belinda who happens to be one of your most amazing and prolific artists of your community.

  • Sue Binzer-Jones

    I was thrilled to see this fine piece of art become part of the story of Selby. As a community development officer myself, the first thing I did was look for the author and facilitator of the work, knowing how impressive (and difficult) it is to inspire a community to contribute to public art. The mosaicist is not mentioned or credited – very disappointing, as wider readers are networking from these articles to achieve similar projects in their own communities.