Make it grain: Art trail to draw tourists to WA’s struggling Wheatbelt

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American artists HENSE (Alex Brewer) painted this mural on a grain silo in Avon in 2015.

American artists HENSE (Alex Brewer) painted this mural on a grain silo in Avon in 2015. Image: Bewley Shaylor

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British artist Phlegm painted this mural on a grain silo in Avon in 2015.

British artist Phlegm painted this mural on a grain silo in Avon in 2015.

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Australian artist Amok Island painted this mural <i>Six Stages of Banksia baxteri</i> in Ravensthorpe in 2016.

Australian artist Amok Island painted this mural Six Stages of Banksia baxteri in Ravensthorpe in 2016. Image: Bewley Shaylor

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Australian artist Amok Island painted this mural <i>Six Stages of Banksia baxteri</i> in Ravensthorpe in 2016.

Australian artist Amok Island painted this mural Six Stages of Banksia baxteri in Ravensthorpe in 2016. Image: Bewley Shaylor

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The Merredin silos soon to be painted by artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers.

The Merredin silos soon to be painted by artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Image: Rhianna Pezzaniti

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A new cultural tourism trail linking large-scale public artworks in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region will be launched in August as part of Perth’s annual PUBLIC festival.

The route will connect a number of grain silos in towns such as Avon, Ravensthorpe and Merredin that have been painted with murals by local and international artists.

The PUBLIC Silo Trail will be launched in Merredin at the site of a new mural by multidisciplinary artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers, which will be painted across four thirty-five-metre-high grain storage silos.

Lynda Dorrington, executive director of Form – the organization behind PUBLIC – said the trail aimed to enhance cultural tourism in regional Western Australia, build the reputation of participating towns statewide, and encourage opportunities for economic growth.

“This trail offers a new way of experiencing Western Australia’s agricultural heartland,” said Dorrington.

“This year-long project will connect a network of regional towns by a common thread of art on an epic scale, while a story gathering and social documentary project will celebrate the regional communities forming the backbone of our state.

“We want to cast a light on these beautiful, distinctive regions, reveal what they have to offer to the rest of the state and help us connect with what makes us Western Australians,” she said.

The newest mural continues a series that began in 2015, when international street artists HENSE (Alex Brewer) and Phlegm painted separate murals on a grain silo in Avon. In 2016, Perth-based Amok Island completed a mural in Ravensthorpe titled Six Stages of Banksia baxteri.

Hughes-Odgers’s mural, which will take around four weeks to complete, will draw on Merredin’s rich natural environment, its diverse community and strong agricultural history, referencing the town’s seasons, harvests, waterways and land formations in a bid to capture the place’s unique sense of self.

“My main focus for the final work is to have a core narrative that the town of Merredin and the broader West Australian community feels connected to and takes ownership of,” said Hughes-Odgers.

“I don’t want the work to be so literal that it loses the power to spark imagination and dialogue. I have painted all over the world but having grown up in Western Australia I feel honoured to work on a project of this scale in the Wheatbelt.”

Form has partnered with CBH Group, Australia’s largest exporter of grain, and Western Power on the project, transforming their infrastructural structures into public artworks.

For more information visit the Public Silo Trail website.

For more on the topic of reinvigorating Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, stay tuned for the August issue of Landscape Architecture Australia: Forgotten Lands. Subscribe here.


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