One innovative representation of the Victorian Mallee that I came across whilst on the Hopetown phototrip in 2016 was the murals that were being painted on the silos throughout the Victorian north-west Mallee. One notable example was the mural on GrainCorp’s disused silo at Brim, which had been painted by the Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten in collaboration with the local community.
This site has become a tourist icon in the Wimmera, judging by the number of people I saw who were stopping, photographing and talking about it:
The individuals in the mural are unknown as the mural is about place, community and the whole Wimmera region which has been struggling through drought. It suggests that it is still a tough life to keep the farm going. The work represents the struggles pf the people in the Mallee in coming to terms with their place at a time of immense economic pressure and climate change.
A number of silos are set to be painted in other towns dotted around the region as a response to the drought by the Yarriambiack Shire Council in partnership with Melbourne street art company Juddy Roller and creative director Shaun Hossack.
The nominated towns for the silo art trail are Patchewollock, Lascelles, Rosebery to the north of Brim, and Sheep Hills and Rupanyup to the south. The silo in Patchewollock by street artist Fintan Magee depicts local, Nick ‘‘Noodle’’ Holland, a local sheep and grain farmer has lived in Patchewollock his entire life:
The Andrews Labor Government will provide $200,000 towards the silo mural project through its Creative State strategy, which according to the 2015 Taskforce Report, is designed to build the state’s film, television, digital games, design, fashion and arts sectors. Creative Victoria realises the potential of Victoria’s creative industries, and it aims to strengthen the creative sector and put the creative industries at the forefront of the state’s future growth, prosperity and liveability.
This emphasis on culture’ as a key aspect of public policy-making, stands in marked contrast to the Australian Government innovation program in which culture and the cultural industries are nowhere to be seen. The Australian Government has no time for decentralising the creative and cultural economy into regional areas; or for nurturing creative excellence through a strong educational base, access to training, mentors and skills development, because it recognises that creativity is as important as science, maths, technology and engineering.