Public art project in Churchill

Creative: Damien Laing wants to get the Churchill community involved. photograph supplied.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

CHURCHILL is set to be home to a public art project, due to be delivered in March next year.

Damien Laing is the artist and photographer bringing the idea to life.

The project is not fully fleshed out yet, however Mr Laing is working on gathering community input.

Earlier this month he hosted an online forum for community members, which was promoted on Facebook, and a photo-walk to get people who were interested in contributing together.

Mr Laing said Churchill is “uniquely planned city,” citing the housing commission build in the 60s and the power industry.

“I studied urban planning … it (Churchill) represents a really interesting time where the government had a very active role in how people’s lives were led,” he said.

“There’s a lot of changes coming, a lot of change that we’ve had with COVID and the end of the power industry … so, what the town does with that and how it faces that future is what I’m interested in.”

Currently, Mr Laing is looking at presenting the project as a group photography exhibition or documentary.

“I’m just trying to meet up with collaborators and people who would be interested in participating,” he said.

Community collaboration is a big part of the art project, and Mr Laing hopes people will get involved.

“It’s just very grassroots, very simple,” he said.

“The point of it is to reflect on the town of Churchill, where it’s come from, what it is now and what its future could be.

“How that was a moment in time, and we live in a different time now and how the town changes with that, what kind of legacy there is.”

Mr Laing has also studied philosophy, and has been developing an arts practice over the last four years.

He has worked on a variety of exhibitions and projects, and is primarily a photographer.

“I’ve got an ongoing body of work that looks at places of worship of minority religions in the western suburbs, seeing the way that they express their religion in a growing suburb that doesn’t necessarily have the infrastructure present,” he said.

“Over the last three or four years I’ve been doing similar sorts of things, in those it’s been more about bringing people from the city to different places … but this time I really want to have the local people have a really active role in contributing and making the work what it is.”

He hopes the public art project will allow local people an opportunity to come together.

“It’s about being together in a space … a chance for people to reflect on themselves and their connections with each other,” he said.

“It’s a moment to reflect and break out of the everyday, we live in a space and have a routine – but this is coming together for a different reason.”

Mr Laing hopes to “have the town’s fingerprints all over the show,” and display the project at the public hall.

At the moment, he is working on gaining community interest, and is inviting those interested to reach out.

Anyone interesting in contributing or learning more about the project can contact Mr Laing at