Outback mural revived

By Michael Roberts | posted on July 9, 2020

AN ALBANY artist has come full circle on a mural he helped paint more than two decades ago, with the City of Albany commissioning him to refresh the public art display during the July school holidays.

Bushland, trees and wildlife were the inspiration for artists Tony Oreo and Jack Davis when they set about painting a brightly coloured mural on an Emu Point water tank in 1999.

But the unique tones of the Australian outback have since faded and the display was in sore need of a fresh lick of paint.

With Mr Davis having since passed away, Mr Oreo took it upon himself to be in charge of the refresh and enlisted the help of family friend and next generation apprentice Monique Heals.

Mr Oreo said revamping the mural brought back memories of Mr Davis, who he described as a humble and inspirational artist.

“Jack had his own painting studio at the back of his house on Festing Street,” Mr Oreo said.

“Every day he would be out there painting. That was his life.

“I would quite often go there because I lived not far up the hill. I picked up pointers and this and that.”

Mr Oreo said he and Ms Heals will largely stay true to the original design, but would add modern touches here and there.

“Monique has a very keen eye for artwork and some time to spare in the next few weeks, so now is a better time than ever to make the artwork Jack and I created stand out once again.”

Ms Heals said she enjoyed having a creative outlet during the Term 2 winter school holidays.

“Painting makes me happy,” she said.

“I just wanted to help Tony and brighten it up. These murals brighten your day.”

Mr Oreo said more public art displays could help add vibrancy and positivity to Albany.

“The town could do with a bit more colour,” he said.

“After this is done I might see if the City would be keen for us to paint some of the bus stops to give them a bit of glamour.”

Mayor of Albany Dennis Wellington said that both Mr Oreo and Ms Heals showed admirable community spirit through contributing to Albany’s public art scene.

“It is fantastic to see tradition being resurfaced not only to offer a young girl a school holiday project, but to fill our community with a sense of pride and worth through artwork like this mural at Emu Point,” he said.

“Albany’s public art scene has been a prominent fixture in our community where dedicated and talented individuals like Tony, Jack and Monique are adding to the vibrancy, positivity and attraction of our city.”

Mr Oreo said he and Ms Heals will have to wait for a sunny day to bring the Emu Point water tank on Roe Parade back to its former glory.

Albany’s public art scene has exploded over the past couple of years, kicking off with the FORM PUBLIC Silo Trail art project and Water Corporation’s Splash of Colour project in 2018.

This has seen Albany’s waterfront silos don a vibrant seadragon as well as various transformer boxes around the CBD being decorated with local artists’ designs.