Around Australia in small rural towns and outback sites, towering grain silos and giant water tanks are a common sight. A new trend of changing these eyesores into public works of art has gathered momentum and there are now incredible paintings to be found all over the country, with printed silo trails and social media pages all dedicated to the amazing individual artworks.
In Western Australia, we have painted silos scattered across the Wheatbelt and south of the state, each painted by a different artist. Over three and a half years, local and international artists were commissioned to paint artworks in rural Western Australia bringing world-class murals to grain silos across the state.
The first silo to be completed was in Northam in 2015 and was followed by murals in Merredin, Katanning, Pingrup, Newdegate, Ravensthorpe and Albany. The trail covers 1000kms through the towns and countryside of rural WA, but if you haven’t got the time to do the trip in one hit you can break it up into three sections: Northam and Merredin; Katanning, Pingrup and Newdegate; and Albany and Ravensthorpe.
On our trips around Western Australia, we have so far managed to see three of the Silos on the trail. The first one we saw was in Albany; painted in 2018 by New York artists The Yok & Sheryo, the ruby sea dragon can be found on the CBH Group grain silos at the port and cannot be missed as you enter Albany. The mural is a reference to Albany’s sea-life and environment and is a cheerful welcome to the city.
The Mural on the CBH grain Silos in Ravensthorpe was painted by Fremantle based artist Amok Island, and features the flowering cycle of the Banksia Baxteri from flower buds to full bloom, then the developing seed pods, first drying out and then opening to begin the process once again, with the help of the Honey Possum and Honey Eater depicted in the mural. The Banksia painted on the silos is only found between Esperance and Albany.
We took a day trip out to Northam to see the huge painted silos and were not disappointed. The enormous structure features eight towers 35 mths in height, painted by international artists HENSE (USA) and Phlegm (UK). The artists each took on the challenge of painting four of the towers in their own unique style. The mural painted by Phlegm is a quirky, monochrome vision of Northam’s’ ballooning and gliding heritage, and has incredible detail; whilst the mural painted by HENSE is an explosion of colour.
We still have to venture out to see the remaining four silos on the trail, but it is on our bucket list. It is amazing to see these giant works of art breathing new life into these ugly structures, bringing visitors into the small rural towns of our state.
If you are interested in visiting the silos, there is a free Western Australia Silo Art Trail map available from any visitors centre along the trail or you can get one posted out to you by contacting www.publicsilotrail.com
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