Artist has whale of time

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on April 30, 2020

LITTLE Grove might become the Great Southern’s best spot for whale watching, thanks to some new artwork at the community hall.

Artist Ruby Cabarrus was asked to add some life to new water tanks being installed outside the South Coast Progress Association, so she decided on something tied closely to Albany’s history and her own.

“There was no structure or plan, but we wanted to make it something that people in Albany could relate to, and I think that humpback whales are a part of our very rich history here,” she said.

“I’ve always felt deeply connected to the ocean and I believe that we all are.

“It’s always been a big part of my life, and the past three years I’ve been living and working in the Ningaloo Reef up in Coral Bay so I’ve been lucky enough to have a job where I got to take people out and snorkel with turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and humpbacks.”

The project has been community driven from the beginning, with Ms Cabarrus reaching out online for donations of paint and supplies.

However, Ms Cabarrus ended up with more paint than she would need when Bunnings Community Funding and Projects Manager Lisa Gungore caught wind of the new mural.

“[She] contacted me through Facebook, I wasn’t sure what to expect but she said to come down to Bunnings and pick whatever I’d need in terms of paint and supplies,” Ms Cabarrus said.

“It wouldn’t be what it is now without all of that because I was able to get everything that I needed and I’m so grateful to them.”

While the artwork is still about a fortnight away from completion, Ms Cabarrus said the community feedback has already been positive.

“The response has been super cool,” she said.

“We get a lot of people coming by on the road nearby and I’ve had a lot of comments from cyclists and families who are going on their daily walks, a few people yelling out to say that it’s looking nice and colourful.”

The whales and pod of dolphins that have found their home on the water tanks at Little Grove also hold a deeper message.

“It’s so important that we acknowledge and protect our marine life. It’s something that’s super important to me and hopefully something people can take away from this is that compassion for all living beings not just humans is a big thing,” Ms Cabarrus said.

“Taking small steps and changing little things about our lives will benefit the amazing marine life that live and visit our area, and we really want to keep it that way.”