Silo Art – The New ‘Big Thing’ in Australia

Something I noticed a while ago in Australia was the number of silos and water towers that have been used as an artist’s canvas. I am all in favour of using these big blank canvases to brighten up the scenery. In fact, when I now see unpainted silos I wonder why the local council or owners have not asked a painter to produce a large work of art.

Silo Art

It is sometimes referred to as “silo art” but we have seen it on water towers too. It is an extension of the many large mural paintings that seem very popular on town walls. It seems that local councils often ask (street) artists to do something creative with some of the  silos and/or water towers in their area. I suppose it is a specialised form of painting as it is on a much larger scale than your usual artists are used to working with.

Here is a collection of some of those we have seen on our travels.

Weethalle Silos

This art is the work of a guy called Khosnaran Khurelbaatar who also goes by the name of Heesco. He is responsible for  lots of murals and silo art in Australia. Heesco was born in 1979 in Mongolia and moved to Australia in 1999. He studied in Sydney but has lived in Melbourne since 2010.

Silo Art at Weethalle

The Weethalle silos are part of a silo art stamp collection issued by Australia Post in 2018.

Grenfell Silos

This is another work by the same Mongolian born ‘street artist’ – Heesco – who did the Weethalle silos.

He has been a busy lad in recent years doing quite a few up and down NSW as well as other states in Australia.

Hay – A Town That Went to War

Water Tower art at Hay: Commemorating locals who went to war.

We came across this one on our drive back to Sydney after our outback adventure in January. Little did I realise at the time that it had only recently been completed. It took only a few days in December 2020 to paint this magnificent tribute to the servicemen and women of Australia emerged and particularly Hay. It was painted on the towns Water Towers by Melbourne artist Matt Adante.

Gunnedah NSW

The thriving mining town of Gunnedah has a couple of good examples. One on silos another on old water tower – now a museum.

The old water tower was turned into a museum in 1980. On the outside of the museum are two large murals, painted by Jenny McCracken, commemorating those who served in the Vietnam War. An interesting choice I thought.

This is another fantastic work by Heesco, the Melbourne based Mongolian-Australian lad. This shows famous poet Dorothea Mackellar and an extract from her famous poem “My Country”. The ‘canvass’ is the 29 metre high, privately owned maize mill silos in Gunnedah. This artwork shows the famous second verse of Dorothea’s poem as well as the town’s early links to farming.
Walgett Water Tower

There was even a water tower painted in honour of an aboriginal musician in the remote town of Walgett. A town we only passed through on one of our journeys.

Walgett water tower art. Celebrating Jimmy Little, famous Aboriginal musician and actor.

It’s Officially a ‘Big’ Thing

The phenomenal explosion of this street art on the huge curved canvases of silos and water towers has been written about in the August edition of Australian Geographic. A great article. There is even a massive mural painted on the walls of the Wellington Dam in Western Australia. It covers an area 367m long and 34m high. Western Australia is a long way from here. I doubt we will be going there any time soon, especially with this never-ending covid panic…

Even public toilets get an arty make-over in Australia. This toilet block art was painted by renowned artist John Murray in Brewarrina. Murray is based in Lightning Ridge where Dani and myself visited his gallery.

There is also a great website dedicated to this art form which I can highly recommend: www.australiansiloarttrail.com

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