Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. I realised last week when I posted about our little 2 day getaway at Potters Gorge at Wellington Dam that I hadn't finished telling you the story which I started in November 2020 about the painting of the Wellington Dam wall We went up to the dam several times during the painting of the mural, so I thought I should finish the story I started in 2020.
Officially opened in February 2021, the massive 8,000 square metre Wellington Dam wall mural, thought to be the largest in the world painted by a single artist, is a sight not to be missed.
The dam wall mural is the work of internationally acclaimed Canadian born artist, Guido Van Helten who grew up in inner city Melbourne. Renowned throughout the world for his photorealistic large scale murals, Guido was influenced at a young age by traditional graffiti and was introduced to aerosol painting at a young age.
Entitled “Reflections” the dam wall mural has been inspired by local stories and photographs collected by Guido to reflect a sense of history and community. For three weeks before he started on the project Guido met with people in Collie, asked about their lives, their connections with the dam, and collected their photos.
Aboriginal culture, the natural environment and settlement history are incorporated into the work. Children are central, none are looking at the camera, they are playing and interacting with the water.
The massive artwork which commenced in November 2020 required a specially designed scaffolding platform. The mechanical swing-stage had to be raised and lowered as the mural was painted, and needed to be dismantled to move across the wall. Abseiling was used for cleaning and applying the base coat.
The pictures were drawn and mapped onto a grid to assist Guido to translate his designs from concept to the scaled mega-mural.
Guido said he did not know how much paint had been used but said the key to coping with such a large piece of work was organisation. "You need a good plan to put it all together…It took all my waking hours”.
To best appreciate the scale of the work on the 367m x 34metre wall face, I suggest viewing from ground level via the walkway along Falcon Drive at the base of the wall (where these photos you see were taken), although access to the bridge and walkway is temporaily closed due to upgrades being carried out on the bridge.
You can also see the overall view from the lookout above where there are information panels. We visited several times while the work was in progress. From the lookout we had a closer view of Guido working. We could see him painting with a large paint brush and referring to a plan in his hand as he worked.
Funded by the state government, the mural is part of a plan to diversify the economy of the traditional coal-mining town and bring visitors to the Collie region, 200kms south east of Perth. The Wellington dam is 30 kilometres from Collie.
The mural is the centrepiece of the new Collie Mural Trail which includes 37 murals through the town of Collie. The Trail showcases the talents of local and leading Australia artists, and tells stories about the Collie River valley’s living heritage and history. A trail map can be downloaded or collected from the Collie Visitor Information Centre on Throssell Street, so this is the best place to start. Check out the Collie Railway Museum while you are there.
One of the mural trail project managers and artists is Andrew Frazer from Bunbury. "The trail is part of a larger vision of Collie being a trail town, which extends into mountain biking and hiking and a whole heap of outdoor experiences," he said. "Having art in public places allows people to engage with this creativity in a way that perhaps they haven't previously." Andrew worked on several pieces including The Endless Adventure collaboration with Collie youth.
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Our World Tuesday
My corner of the world through my camera
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global hosted by Randomosity.
and Little bird - Pienilintu
Welcome to Nature Thursday