This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Sunday, 10 January 2016

High art

With headlines “Tiny Wimmera town brimful of pride” and “Giant silo art dubbed tiny Wimmera town’s Mt Rushmore” the media and online response to the Brim Silo Art has been amazing.
The silo’s mural has its own Facebook Page
The finished mural against a Wimmera sky. Donna Wallace Facebook
Internationally renowned Brisbane-based artist Guido van Helten is using regional Victoria’s largest cherry-picker to breathe new life into Brim’s disused grain silos with a 30m by 30m artwork. For 3 weeks he has worked for up to 10 hours a day, including Christmas Day and New Year's Day, in frequent 40-degree heat and strong winds to create the work using spray paint and acrylic house paint.

Guido on site, by Rob Leeson
 “I work on photography so when I got here I arranged a small photography project, which sort of documented the people of the town,” Guido said, and he had wanted to paint an iconic Australian silo for years.
The rough, round surface of the silos and a scorching, wind-battered central Victorian summer meant the task had not been easy.  Van Helten took photos of locals and mapped the work on computer, but a challenge was to accommodate the silos' curves.
A blank canvas, by Paul Carracher
Funding from Regional Arts Victoria, the Yarriambiack Shire Council, Brim Active Community Group and a paint sponsorship by Taubmans and Loop Paints allowed work to get under way before Christmas.  The local caravan park and pub provided free accommodation and meals.
Guido in action with the spray gun he also used a paint brush, by Rob Leeson
Brim Active Community Group president Shane Wardle said the artwork was already making a difference to the local community.
“The Facebook has been unbelievable. It’s even gone overseas now. One lady said the next time she comes to Australia she’ll be coming to Brim to have a look at the silo. It’s just amazing.”
Any boost for Brim’s people and their businesses would be a bonus, “If the pub sells another beer and the shop sells an ice cream, we’re happy with that,” Shane said.
Guido on the boom dwarfed by the silo, Rob Leeson
Now 4 giant figures representing generations of the area’s people will loom over the Henty Highway in a sight sure to join Australia’s big things as a road-trip must.
The now vanished image, Paul Carracher
Visitors are driving for hours to see the  giant mural overlooking the tiny community of Brim. One visitor compared it to Mount Rushmore, the giant sculpture of four US presidents in South Dakota.
Originally the second character was a child's face, till Guido thought it didn't fit with his vision, so after all that work he changed it to what we see today. Fortunately the Mail Times captured the work in progress.
Brim Silo Art is now a masterpiece of outdoor art using the canvass of unused grain silos. But Brim is not alone with many small towns left with now unused silos, tall, blank, grave monuments to an once important part of a small towns economy.
The cement silos at Brim were built back in the 1938 and were never designed to last this long and are still in working order, but due to the larger carrying capacity of trucks, they were decommissioned approx 3 years ago, and now all grain now is either stored on farm or is sent to the Beulah or Warracknabeal bunker storages.
Grain silos are being shut down because of cost cutting rationalisation by grain purchasing companies. The cost is being shifted from the corporations to the family farmer who has to bear the cost for shifting grain the extra distance from the once local silos to a bigger centre. 
Guidio van Helten is a well-known & recognised muralist, check out some of Guido's other great work via his webpage,  some of them in much colder climates.
: Lynton Brown's drive-by video
: 7News video
: ABC Rural's article on the people on the silo
: Brim Silo Art Project
Peter, Sam, Win, Al & Guido. Mikala Hateley on Facebook

Sources: The Age, Herald-Sun, Mail-Times, Facebook

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