photo-icon Extract from mural by Tapi

Meet the artist behind a hidden gem in the city

Cultural Heart Our Wellbeing People of Adelaide

The city of Adelaide is home to several purpose-built student accommodation complexes. As well as providing a safe and comfortable place for mainly international students to call home while they complete their studies, these venues work hard to provide opportunities for their residents to connect and engage with the wider community.

dwell East End Adelaide is one such complex and Cintia Fiore runs its Resi-Life program. Resi-Life keeps residents busy with a range of events designed to entertain, educate and inspire. Below, Cintia tells us about a recent project that brought dwell’s Adelaide residents together with a talented local artist.

Tapi mural extract
photo-icon Extract from mural by Tapi

dwell East End Adelaide rooftop mural - by Tapi.


Every dwell building around the world has something that distinguishes it from the rest. dwell East End Adelaide opened in January 2019 and, since then, our team has been looking to add some colour and personality to our building, creating a vibrant space that our residents and visitors love.

Tapi portrait

In June 2019 we started to look for an artist who could take the challenge of integrating dwell’s global signature with the Aussie culture, capturing both worlds in a mural that residents and their visitors could enjoy in a common space. While we were studying some local artist’s trajectories and styles, we received an email from Tapi, a young artist of African-British descent, offering his services to our community.

Tapi (pictured) has been living in Whyalla since 2015 but is currently based in Adelaide while he’s studying at the University of Adelaide. We immediately scheduled an interview and were delighted with his style and personal taste: Tapi’s art is vibrant, colourful, friendly and meaningful.

We had decided to work with Tapi to create a mural in dwell, but still had the hard challenge of choosing the theme. We spent several months discussing this, trying to decide what would be the most meaningful idea for our artwork - and then Australia was deeply hit by the bushfires.

dwell East End Adelaide was committed to help in any possible way to alleviate some of the pain our community was feeling around these events; with that aim, our team organised three campaigns: a monetary donation to which our global team generously contributed to the Red Cross campaign; a food and medicines donation to help Foodbank; and a coins donation at our Reception to make each cent count.

Our dwell community response was so emotive, that we decided to honour their commitment with a fantastic mural that expresses the significance of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, which is slowly starting to recover; and our wonderful artist could not have expressed himself better.

Tapi gets started on mural

Tapi at work adding colour and creativity to a blank wall space on the rooftop of dwell East End Adelaide.

The brief for Tapi was to create something iconic, photo-worthy and relatable. The strong message contained in the image is very close to the heart of all Australians and visitors and may be shared not only by our residents but also by the community.

In the design, Tapi captures the famous Australian Eucalyptus tree with its beautiful flowers and leaves - the favourite food of the most beloved Australian animal: the koala.

“When they told me they wanted koalas and trees I was initially nervous as I've never painted nature before, in fact my main profession is making clothing. But I knew I had to change the perspective of the tree in order to make it fit in such an awkward space like a T shaped wall,” said Tapi.

“I was unsure how much paint would be needed but I requested five litres of primary colours so I could create the colours in order and mix the right shades in the quantities I needed.

"It took just over a month from start to finish.”

While he has a strong creative streak, Tapi is actually studying Health and Medical Sciences and aims to obtain a neuroscience major.

Mural 1 tapi artist

“I chose this field because it’s a relatively new branch of medicine and I didn’t think there would be as much memorisation as a regular medical degree. Studying is a challenge for me, and neuroscience has a lot of contradicting research, so they allow us to question everything and try to create our own theories.

“To me, art is therapy, the magic of creating something highly valuable and sentimental out of bare minimum materials. When I finish studying I wish to continue being an entrepreneur.”

Tapi has also created a clothing and apparel brand called Choco-Princes Apparel Est. Early 2016 and has been involved in occasional graphic design for other companies (logos etc.)

Tapi’s messages for the world:

“Anyone can be an artist. If I gave you a brush and canvas and told you to only paint one stroke a day, I guarantee by the time it’s finished it will be great. Good artists just go through this process faster.”

#BLM

Tapi’s mural is approximately 2.5 meters high and 4 meters wide and is located on the rooftop terrace of dwell East End Adelaide. While dwell residents and their visitors are welcome to appreciate the art and take a photo with our lovely koalas whenever they like, we hope others will enjoy feasting their eyes on Tapi’s work displayed in this article!

The latest community-focused project the dwell East End Adelaide team is running is a food drive to help support Baptist Care SA run its city-based Community Food Hub and Emergency Relief program. Located at 216 Wright Street, the Community Food Hub offers low-priced groceries to anyone with a concession card or Immi card, including pensioners, students and people experiencing homelessness.

While dwell residents are welcome to shop anytime at the Community Food Hub, until the end of July 2020 -  those who feel they are in a position to help are invited, along with any interested members of the public, to donate specific food items most needed by the service. Items can be dropped of at one of three locations:

  1. dwell East End Adelaide reception area at 12 Synagogue Place (any day between 9 am and 9 pm) 
  2. Adelaide South West Community Centre at 71 Sturt Street, Adelaide (Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4:30 m)
  3. Baptist Care SA Reception at 11-19 Millers Court in Adelaide (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm). 

Only specified items will be accepted. Food Drive ends 31 July 2020.


The views, information, or opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide.

Article by

Cintia Fiore

Cintia Fiore

Cintia has been working at dwell East End Adelaide since its opening in January 2019 and was promoted to Australia Marketing Manager in October 2019. She manages dwell's Marketing, Social Media and Resi-Life programs nationwide and is committed to providing students with the best possible experience.