Street Art of Lismore - Part One

Rob Harle

by Robert Maddox_Harle (aka Rob Harle)

The quality and variety of street art and graffiti in Lismore is literally awe inspiring. There is so much art to share with you I’ve decided to present it in a two part article.
I have given the works simple titles myself for ease of identification and discussion only, these were not given by the artists.

Image 1 Where Everything Started. Back Alley

Lismore is a regional country city in north-eastern NSW Australia, I recently moved from the hills of Nimbin into Lismore to live. We are close to the coast, the eastern most point in Australia, and to the (in)famous Byron Bay. Lismore is the health/medical centre of the northern rivers area, has a good university, (Southern Cross University), the Northern Rivers Conservatorium, a TAFE College (with excellent art courses) and a new Regional Art Gallery. Lismore is becoming famous for its avant-garde cafés, Eat The Street food festival, and also is a vibrant centre for  the Tropical Fruits (a LGBTQ advocacy group). Little wonder it is home to a huge number of artists, craftspeople and musicians.
Image 2 Defiant. Back Alley

Image 3 Wolf-Snake. Back Alley

Many of the images shown here are in the so-called Back Alley Gallery of Lismore CBD. This amazing project started as a liaison between local artists and businesses and in the words of our Mayor Isaac Smith, “the back alley gallery grew organically from local artists and business collaboration. It has really encouraged other work in town which is great”. An example of that out-growth, Image 4, is a work painted on the wall of the local indigenous Bundjalung peoples’ newspaper office.

Image 4 Bundjalung
Another example is Image 5, this huge artwork adorns the north wall of the Lismore Library, looking out into the “Quad” towards the Regional Gallery. Image 6 is a small portion of the 60 metre long mural which leads to the gallery beside the car park.
Image 5 Seated Man

Image 6 Entrance Car Park to Lismore Regional Gallery

Image 7 John K. Back Alley

Image 8 Man Of Steel. Back Alley

Image 9 Beauty. Back Alley

Image 10 BNFS. Back Alley

Many of the artworks, especially those in the Back Alleys, carry a message, generally concerned with eradicating racism, building bridges instead of walls, equality for ALL people, and getting art off gallery walls and bringing it to the public as part of their daily experience. A few graffiti artists are bitter and hate most things about modern society, so have no respect for public structures or others and deface these with their generally inferior ego-centric personal signature logos, none of these are shown here. It is a credit to local Council to encourage and support, the mainly young artists in projects like the Back Alley Gallery. An example of young activism is in Image 11. Some of the artworks simply portray beauty and love Image 12 is an astonishingly beautiful work, and quite overwhelming with its size and emotional content. More amazing works in Part Two, next edition of Setu.

Image 11 Fight For Your Right and Image 2 Defiant. Back Alley

 Image 12 Holding Hands. Back Alley 


  1. Amazing Street Art! Enjoyed Reading! Thanks to Rob for sharing!

  2. This is just intriguing! Loved each art work . Waiting for the next ! Thanks a ton for sharing these Rob !

  3. The Holding Hands one made me feel so fuzzy. Beautiful!Love that expression in the child's face .

  4. Thanks Gopal, it really is astonishing art :-)Rob

  5. Thanks Santosh, Holding hands image is truly astonishing :-)


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