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John Vella – Coles Old World

Putting public art in the shopping trolley


Oversized shopping trolley images, epitomising the contemporary commercial environment, have become an artistic landmark at the new Coles Supermarket redevelopment in Sandy Bay.

Hobart artist John Vella has brought his artistic flair to the commercial precinct and his work enlivens and improves what was a very drab space. The shopping trolley metaphor translates as a contemporary and visually powerful image, transforming and activating the streetscape and attracting public attention. The result is a great example of what can be achieved through including art in building projects, benefiting both businesses and artists.

Mr Vella was selected to create the artwork through Arts Tasmania’s public art program that offers services to both corporate and government clients. The public art team worked closely with the client, project managers i2C, Hobart City Council and Risby Planning & Urban Design to realise this public art commission.


John Vella holds a Diploma of Fine Arts with Distinction (1993) from the National Art School, Sydney, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with first class honours – 1996) from the Tasmanian School of Art and a Master of Fine Arts (200) also in from the Tasmanian Schoo of Art. His work is represented in a number of private and public collections in Australia including ArtBank, the University of NSW and The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. He has been awarded 3 major competitive commissions through the Tasmanian Goverment Art Site Scheme and has received significant, competitive grants from Arts Tasmania and the Australia Council.

Vella lectured in Painting and Drawing at the Tasmanian School of Art from 1998-2000 and was appointed to the University as the Acting Head of Sculpture in 2005, becoming the studio’s permanent head in 2008. His works have been included in 11 solo exhibitions since 1994 and over 40 group exhibitions (since 1993).

Stephen Hurrel received his postgraduate diploma in Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art in 1988 after completing his BA there. He has since exhibited nationally and internationally and has been commissioned for numerous site-specific artworks. Hurrell works with video, sound, sculpture and text to explore relationships between people and place. His work often connects with science and technology to explore and record interactions and tensions between nature and contemporary society. Aside from his gallery-based practice Hurrel produces commissioned works responding to specific geographic locations, in particular marine environments. He has recently completed a short film based around ‘naming and modes of orientation and navigation’ in relation to the island of Barra.

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John Vella – Coles Old World

246 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay TAS 7005

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