Mobile Before I Die Wall at Clonlea Park Gawler SA Skatepark for Youth Week

Young thoughts on death

APRIL 12, 2016

The mobile Before I Die wall had its first official outing as part of the activities for National Youth Week. It was a hit; all sides were covered in wonderful things kids want to do before they die: go to space, meet Johnny Depp, see the Eiffel Tower, be the best scooter rider, have a zombie apocalypse, own a Maccas, be a DJ …. to name a few.

Gawler Council used the Before I Die mobile wall for its Youth Week activities in Clonlea Park, Gawler, South Australia, on Saturday 9 April, 2016. It was placed by the popular skate park. We dropped it off in the morning in pristine clean condition and picked it up in the afternoon covered in multi-coloured chalk text and drawings. Even toddlers were given the chance to make their mark with some squiggly lines on the wall.

The Gawler Before I Die wall started life as a pilot wall in Conversations Cafe in 2014. Mignon, the owner, kindly let me use her chalkboard wall. It was a big hit with patrons enjoying a coffee while reading the comments from their table then writing their own aspirations before leaving. Due to its success I received a Council grant to develop a community wall. I was inspired by what they did in Townsville, QLD. They made a 4-sided cardboard structure and left it on the beach for a day. People could walk around it and write on all sides. So my fiance and I created a 4-sided structure on a car trailer using marine-ply board and painted it with black chalkboard paint. The panels can be removed and affixed to a fence or wall like we did for the Gawler Fringe this year.

Friends informed me they enjoyed watching the process on Saturday. Kids would come up and write something while others tentatively stood back and watched and read all the comments. Then they would feel inspired to write something. Even the Mums and Dads added a few of their comments. Conversations were started in writing: Someone wrote “SKYDIVE” and then someone else added … “with Taylor Swift”; another wrote “Learn to dance” followed by someone else writing “Dance like no one is watching”; first comment said “Sit on a Jamaican beach” which was countered by “Aussie beach is the the tops”.

The mobile Before I Die wall is now a free community resource. It is a pop-up, interactive, public art installation that engages people in an entertaining way to think about death. Contact me if you would like to use it.

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