Water tank mural showcasing Onslow’s history under way with artist Jerome Davenport commencing painting

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Work has begun on the Onslow water tank mural project.
Camera IconWork has begun on the Onslow water tank mural project. Credit: Amy Bishop

The long-awaited Onslow water tank mural project has finally begun with artist Jerome Davenport commencing painting recently.

Perth-based Davenport was announced as the new artist for the project in June when Shire of Ashburton councillors voted to endorse the concept design, budgeted at $150,000, and for the chief executive to enter into a contract with Davenport to complete the work within the next 12 months.

The design of the first tank will focus on the flora and fauna of the region, while the second tank will celebrate the history and heritage of the town.

Plans for the project, which is a joint initiative between Regional Arts WA, the Shire of Ashburton and the Water Corporation, began in 2018 with Guido van Helten selected in 2019 to create the mural before the artist sensationally walked away in the wake of disagreements over its design.

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Van Helten, who had spent seven weeks in Onslow while he came up with a concept, accused the shire of rejecting his design because it was “too Indigenous”, a claim the municipality denies.

Councillors voted at their June 2021 meeting to continue with the project and establish an artwork selection working group to help deliver the project and in August councillors endorsed a confidential item to terminate the contract between van Helten and the shire

Jerome Davenport with his mural on the corner of Lowood Road and Marmion Street Mt Barker.
Picture: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser
Camera IconJerome Davenport with his mural on the corner of Lowood Road and Marmion Street in Mt Barker. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Shire president Kerry White said the mural project provides a great opportunity to showcase what makes Onslow such a unique place to live.

“Council is pleased to see the progress that has been made on the project so far, and looks forward to seeing the final product,” she said.

“With an extensive history, the Onslow Tank Murals will highlight to new members of our community and travellers, the different facets of the region that make the town what it is today.”

Water Corporation north west regional manager Sharon Broad said it was a privilege to support the Shire’s vision to showcase the beauty of the surrounding environment.

“We love to celebrate the communities we live and work in, and to be able to do this while adding to the vibrancy of Onslow’s landscape is something we’re really happy to be involved in,” she said.

The project is expected to be completed within the financial year.

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