Officially opened in February 2021, the massive Wellington Dam wall mural is a sight not to be missed. The 8,000 square metre mural is thought to be the largest in the world, and is the centrepiece of the new Collie Mural Trail which includes 37 murals through the town of Collie, some of which have been painted by local artists.
30 kilometres from Collie, and funded by the state government, the mural is part of a plan to diversify the economy of the traditionally coal-mining town and bring visitors to the Collie region, which is situated 200kms south east of Perth, a comfortable 2.5 hour drive.
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 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 European settlement history are incorporated into the work. Children are central; playing and interacting with the water. The realism of the characters on such a large scale is staggering to see.
Commenced in November 2020 the artwork 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.