A South Australian special school, an Indigenous artist, and a local council have come together to add a splash of colour and a new sound to a popular Riverland town. 

Key points:

  • A brightly coloured piano inspired by the global Play Me, I’m Yours project has been installed on an SA riverbank
  • Riverland Special School students helped bring the design by Indigenous artist Kat Bell to life 
  • It’s one of four pianos the Berri Barmera Council has planned for the region

The global Play Me, I’m Yours initiative kicked off in 2008 when British artist Luke Jerram started placing brightly decorated pianos in cities across the world. 

The initiative made its way across Australia and has now reached the Riverland, with a piano installed along the Murray River in the town of Berri. 

The piano was given a new coat of paint by students at the Riverland Special School, guided by local Indigenous artist Kat Bell. 

“We started with yellow and then we added the blue and the big circles on the sides and the other people with us added the extra decorations,” student Joanne said. 

Riverland Special School students unveiled their artwork and were the first to give it a play. (ABC Riverland: Sam Bradbrook )

Riverland Special School teacher Tregona Pickering said her school jumped at the chance to get its students involved in a public art project. 

“It’s always good to showcase what the kids are able to do,” she said.  

“Arts and music are something a lot of kids can access, whether it just be dancing to music or dance and drama.

The piano was installed at the Special Place for Jimmy James, an area commemorating a local Aboriginal tracker. (ABC Riverland: Sam Bradbrook )

Art, music to bring community together 

The piano on the Berri riverfront is one of four planned by the Berri Barmera Council, which commissioned Ms Bell to create all the designs. 

Council environment and major projects manager Conny Wilson said the project was about getting locals and tourists involved in their community. 

“It’s an opportunity for people to have access to and enjoyment of equipment and arts and culture,” she said. 

“We also think it’s unifying in so far as it demonstrates other health and wellbeing aspects of our community and what’s needed to bring people together.

“One of their [the students’] request was that the piano was placed where everybody can enjoy it and they can play it themselves.” 

The decorated piano is one of four planned for the Berri and Barmera district.(ABC Riverland: Sam Bradbrook)

The piano has been installed at an area known as A Special Place for Jimmy James, a recreation space along the river named after an Aboriginal tracker who lived in the town. 

“We think it demonstrates our connection with the first peoples, and the design itself has been created by an Indigenous artist in Kat Bell,” Ms Wilson said.