by Jocelyn Airth

The small Victorian town of Trentham has been brought to life by an exquisite café mural starring Cronulla Sharks’ Indigenous player, Akira Kelly.

Two hundred people came together to watch as renowned Melbourne artist Adnate, splashed Kelly’s face on what was once the wall of an old 1870’s bank, now belonging to successful café The Trentham Collective.

Organiser and co-owner of the café, Nathan McGuire, joined forces with Adnate with the intention of paying tribute to Trentham’s rich Dja Dja Wurrung heritage and celebrating the town’s artistic community.

Locals gathered to attend a smoke ceremony and a Welcome to Country, before watching on as Adnate spent seven hours spraying the 2.4 metre by 3.6 metre portrait of Kelly.

In an interview with The Courier, McGuire said that Kelly was chosen to feature in the mural as she is a descendant of the local Dja Dja Wurrong people and represents the future of the region’s Indigenous culture.

Kelly, a key player in the Sharks’ 2017 Tarsha Gale Cup side, is fast establishing herself as a role model both on and off the field. The 16-year-old scored an impressive 64 points for Cronulla this season, making her one of the competition’s top point scorers. Just weeks ago, Kelly was named the first ever Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year.

"I feel very privileged to be featured in the mural and to be painted by Adnate is a huge honour," Kelly said. "It is so surreal to see my face painted on a huge wall.

"The mural is something really special to me and my family. I'm so proud to be representing the Dja Dja Warrung people, especially living off country and in a way it keeps me connected to my culture."

If you find yourself travelling south of the boarder, add The Trentham Collective to your itinerary and check out Kelly’s stunning portrait in person.