MODERN HISTORY: Stewart Shuker and his sculpture of the Queen's Arm's first female publican, Isabella Wright.
MODERN HISTORY: Stewart Shuker and his sculpture of the Queen's Arm's first female publican, Isabella Wright. Joshua Macree

New wall art turning heads

A CHANCE meeting between artist Stewart Shuker and publican, Peter Stark, has culminated in a beautiful mural that adorns the wall of the newly-renovated Queens Arms Hotel.

"I was in a West End Brisbane Cafe and Peter approached me to see if I was responsible for creating an artwork inside the cafe, as I was covered in paint,” Mr Shuker said.

"I said I wasn't, but thankfully I was able to show him my street art I had been doing on an old building nearby that was due for re-development.”

Since that day, the two have built a strong relationship and when Mr Shuker was asked to help create new art for the Queens Arms Hotel in Roma, he jumped at the chance.

"Peter gave me a run-down of the history of Roma and we wanted to create something contemporary the celebrated the heritage of the pub and the town,” Mr Shuker said.

They decided on doing a modern take on the Queens Arms Hotel's first female publican, Isabella Wright, who ran the pub from 1917 - 1924. To construct the wall sculpture, the face was drawn on existing old brick, before being covered in cement render and then highlighted with striking white paint.

The end result is a dynamic wall sculpture that features three distinct colour tones.

To finish, the artwork was chiselled off in sections to form the finer details such as facial features, hair and clothing.

Although Mr Shuker has done wall sculptures previously, constructing this particular work would present it's own set unique challenges.

"The Queens Arms Hotel is made of very old brick, which was of a lower grade, so I was finding it difficult to make the render stick,” he said. "In the end, I had to combine the render with the concrete which seemed to solve the problem.

"The brick also tended to powder and fall off, but I actually think that played to our advantage in the end, it really gives it a cool look and adds to it.”

Mr Shuker had a hand in most of the new artwork and wall decorations that will form part of the new Queen's Arm's Hotel.

These additional works include a wall sculpture of the pub's first owner, John Hunter, and other throwbacks to Roma's unique heritage.

"The idea was to reference the history in a way that was fresher and cleaner. I think we've done a fantastic job and the new pub is a lot more open and airy.”

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