Friday, December 8, 2023

Giant ANZAC mural underway in Coolup

The small town of Coolup, in the Peel region of Western Australia, is preparing to unveil a giant mural that will transform the local community hall.

Measuring 16 metres long and five metres high, the stunning black and white aerosol mural depicts local ANZAC stories and will be completed just in time for ANZAC Day.

Painted by self-taught artist, Shakey, the giant installation was commissioned by the Coolup Progress Association as part of its ANZAC Memorial Revitalisation Project. It is being installed on the southern external wall of the Coolup Community Hall.

The mural depicts two local stories: “The Baker Boys”, which was the real-life tale of three local brothers that all went to fight in the Great War, with only one returning, and “Ethel McKay”, a local war nurse whose sister married the returning Baker brother, and whose family still live in the area.

Ange Rogers is President of the Coolup Progress Association the organisation behind the innovative painting.

“The Coolup community has supported ANZAC Day activities for a long time,” she says.

“The Coolup Progress Association began a popular ANZAC Eve service which is now in its 10th year; we campaigned and paid for the war memorial to be refurbished and relocated; and the community told us they wanted to further acknowledge our local ANZAC links with the painting of a giant mural.”

The project has been in the planning for more than two years, during which time Ms Rogers discovered the artist, Shakey, who has been responsible for some of the most startling and arresting modern murals in Western Australia, including as part of the Collie Mural Art Trail.

“Shakey’s style and attention to detail is unique, and we knew he would capture our local stories perfectly and portray them in a modern and compelling way,” said Ms Rogers.

The mural is the largest Shakey has ever undertaken, both in size (75 square metres) and scope.

“It is important to me to depict stories that have genuine local meaning, and that are rooted in real life. The Baker Boys and Ethel McKay are characters whose tales still resonate in this community today, so it’s a privilege to be able to bring them back to life like this,” says Shakey.

The mural can be seen on the Coolup Community Hall which is on Murray Street, just off the South Western Highway in Coolup. There is a car park adjacent and viewing is free.

The project has been funded through donations from Robyn Clarke MLA, The Coolup Progress Association, the Shire of Murray and Doral Mineral Sands.

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