The fear of losing a close friend is what inspired a student at Our College to create an extraordinary piece of street art that has gone viral online paying homage to the victims of the Bourke Street tragedy.
Connor Firth, a Year 12 student at our Senior School, was initially touched by the tragedy through a friend who works in the area where the fatal rampage took place.
“I feared the worst when I first saw the news report,” Connor said of his friend. “I immediately called him to make sure he was okay. To my relief, he had called in sick that day,” he said.
“He was in a state of depression, however, having learnt of the tragic event. I saw the sadness that had swept the community I was a part of and felt like I needed to pay my respects. This was something I could do to show people I care.”
The piece in Melbourne’s Hosier Lane features a giant Ulysses butterfly with the message 'R.I.P Bourke Street Victims' and has been a massive hit online.
One posting on social media site Facebook has attracted nearly 12,000 'reactions', over 5000 shares and nearly 300 comments.
“My family has a deep personal connection with the Ulysses butterfly and death,” the 17-year-old said, explaining his choice of imagery.
“To my family it symbolises transcendence and moving from life, symbolised by the caterpillar, to death, symbolised by the butterfly.”
A 19-year-old girl who lost a long-time family friend in the tragedy has already contacted Connor to thank him for paying respect in such a unique way.
“She said it meant the world to her and her family,” Connor said.
Connor started experimenting with street art when he was 14 and has been finding spots around Melbourne to display his works for the last six months.
He said the piece took him only “two or three hours” to complete.
“I think it’s a form of expression, and as long as I have something to say, there will continue to be similar artworks,” he said.
“The world of graffiti is an unstable battleground of people who have something to say. The only thing that separates vandals from artists is how thought provoking the message is. That’s the only constant I have discovered.”
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