Artist Rhonda Sampson with her artwork at Campbelltown Stadium.

A bright new mural now greets fans visiting Campbelltown Sports Stadium and they’ve got Eagle Vale artist Rhonda Sampson is to thank for it. 

Campbelltown Council asked Ms Sampson to create the piece, which is accompanied by a Welcome to Country address, to acknowledge and celebrate the traditional owners of the land. 

Ms Sampson, a Kamilaroi woman, said she was honoured to create the artwork – titled Past Present and Future – and very proud of the finished product.

“It was an honour to do it, to represent the Aboriginal community and to acknowledge traditional owners,” she said.

“I’m really proud, as an Aboriginal girl, to be asked to do something at this level. I’m proud of the work.”

Ms Sampson said she undertook a lot of research to try and incorporate as much as she could into the piece.

She said the stadium was built on Dharawal land and originally called Orana Park. She said orana was a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘welcome’, which was fitting for a place which saw people gather there from afar.

“I met with the council staff in October last year and got an idea of what the artwork should represent,” Ms Sampson said.

“The stadium is a massive meeting place, all our major sports events are held there. So, I thought about that, growing up as a local girl, what that meant to me.

“I’ve got the stadium lights represented in there – they’re the four big white circles – because you know, locally, that if those lights are on something is happening.”

Ms Sampson said she incorporated the colours of Wests Tigers into the piece, alongside the council’s branded colour palette.

She said the adjoining Athletics Stadium was represented, and well as communities from the north, south, east and west.

“People come from afar to attend the events at the sports stadium,” she said. “It’s a big meeting place, which is very diverse and multicultural, so those four river elements represented communities coming from other places to meet in our inclusive town.”

Ms Sampson said she had a clear idea from the start of how she wanted to artwork to come together.

She said it was created with the three “key elements” of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ at front of mind.

“The past acknowledges the Dharawal people, the stadium is on their land, and it was built to honour the history of that, the evolution from a farming area to what it is today,” she said. 

“The present is the sports stadium as one of Campbelltown’s major attractions. It has hosted major international events and we’ve welcomed visitors from far and wide to showcase their talent and celebrate in unity, supporting the events held at the stadium.

“The future is about Campbelltown growing and growing fast. It is anticipating the moments that haven’t happened yet, and more excitement into the future.”

Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic said the mural was a welcoming new feature for the stadium. 

“Fans attending Macarthur FC or Wests Tigers games will now be greeted with this fantastic new artwork as they go to take their seats to watch our local teams play,” he said. “It is a fitting representation of Campbelltown Sports Stadium’s place in our modern history, told through the perspective of a local Aboriginal artist.” 

The mural is just one part of a suite of new visual elements, including signage, installed throughout the stadium in the past few months.

Original Article