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BY FORM | 17-Jul-2017
This August FORM’s annual street art project returns with the PUBLIC Silo Trail, a series of national and international artworks on iconic infrastructure spanning Western Australia’s regional heartland. The project will kick off in Merredin, the gateway to the Central Wheatbelt and a vital channel between Perth, the Goldfields and the Wheatbelt’s agricultural lands, with a mural painted across four 35 metre-high grain storage silos by Perth multi-disciplinary artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Ultimately the PUBLIC Silo Trail will create a cultural tourism trail through a larger-than-life, open air gallery of high profile murals, and catalogue the lives of regional Australians in film and story.
FORM’s Executive Director Lynda Dorrington 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,” Ms Dorrington said. “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,” she said. “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.”

FORM has partnered with CBH Group and Western Power on the project, transforming their infrastructural icons in a series of yet to be announced locations through art, in a move aimed at highlighting the contributions these companies make to the lives of Western Australians.

CBH Group General Manager of Grower and External Relations Brianna Peake said the co-operative was excited to announce Merredin as the third in the silo series. “In 2015 we launched Australia’s first grain silo mural with the CBH Avon silos transformed into the largest installation of urban art in Western Australia through the work of two international street artists,” Ms Peake said. “Last year we took the project to the Goldfields-Esperance’ region with the Ravensthorpe silos given a new look at the hand of Amok Island. Both of these projects have received world-wide attention and have added another drawcard for tourists coming to regional Western Australia.” “We’re pleased to be supporting our grain growing regions through high-profile projects such as this, but also being able to do it by engaging a talented local artist,” Ms Peake said.

The Avon silos were transformed by international artists HENSE and Phlegm followed by Perth-based Amok Island’s Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri in Ravensthorpe. The Merredin artwork will begin joining the dots on FORM’s unfolding cultural trail from early August, using visual storytelling to ignite pride within locals, draw visitors to the regions and connect the wider state with its rural foundations.

The Merredin mural will take Hughes-Odgers around four weeks to complete, working atop boom lifts across the facade of four individual silos at CBH Group’s Merredin wheat storage and transfer depot. Hughes-Odgers’s mural will be visible from the Great Eastern Highway throughout the process, which will be documented through film and photography during August. The artwork will draw on Merredin’s rich natural environment, its diverse community and its 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.

Hughes-Odgers said he was excited to tackle the silos, which will be his largest work to date. “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,” he said. “I also do not 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.”

The PUBLIC Silo Trail launches with Kyle Hughes-Odgers’s Merredin mural on Monday 7 August at the Merredin wheat storage and transfer depot. Watch the transformation live, follow @formwa on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and stay tuned at publicsilotrail.com to find out where and what we’ll paint next in the heartland.