Public art makes a splash in WA

A water pump station in Mount Hawthorn is the latest customer in the Water Corporation’s Splash of Colour makeover program.

Partnered with the McGowan government to bring vibrancy and awareness to areas across Western Australia, the program has transformed around 40 drab electrical cabinets and water pumps with colourful murals.

The artist behind the latest mural, Pippa Scheepers, is a Mount Hawthorn resident herself and believes that they bring a bit more to the community that just a pretty picture.

Pippa Scheepers depicts her neighbourhood’s water story in latest mural. Photo: Supplied.

“The whole concept of the program is not only to beautify the assets, but to educate people on the local water story of the area,” says Pippa.

“The Water Corporation is all about conservation and keeping our natural areas clean, so the project is an artistic extension of that.

“The bird I chose to draw was the great eastern egret. I spent a lot of time watching them at Lake Monger and admired their patience and tenacity, they are not fazed by anything and that seems like a good lesson for people to draw from.”

Beginning in 2017 in the south-west region, the program has grown exponentially in both popularity and range, with work located from Broome to Albany.

Jane Moulynox, program manager at Splash of Colour, says they aim for six art pieces per year in the Perth metropolitan area as they help enhance the connection people have with their local environment.

“Each piece is inspired specifically by the closest body of water to it.”

“Pippa’s Mount Hawthorn piece was centred on nearby Lake Monger but she is also working on a new piece that is very close to the coast, so it’s based on the sea.”

School and youth group workshops are often used to inspire the artists ideas.

“We ask the kids what water means to them and use their designs of fish and plants and birds as basis for the murals,” says Jane.

“They get to contribute to their community and think about their waterways at the same time.”

Designs are often inspired by youth consultation workshops. Photo: Melissa Sheil.

Miranda De Baughn from the Community Arts Network (CAN) says they are very pleased to help the program.

“We are very proud of our partnership with Splash of Colour and our facilitation between the youth groups and community artists,” says Miranda.

“We’re up-cycling our own dull water pumps into something that can add to the aesthetic of the area, using what we already have.”

Art for the community, by the community. Video: Supplied by Water Corporation.

“I hope the colourful community mural brightens the day of those who pass by, while serving as a reminder of the importance of conserving and protecting our water and waterways,” says Water Minister Dave Kelly.