Two Sides of the Saw


'Two Sides of the Saw' Associated Pulp and Paper Mills, Burnie Tasmania
Art in Working Life, Community Mural project 1986
Organised by Tasmania's N.W. Community Arts Committee
Artists: David Humphries, Rodney Monk
Size: 6m x 7m

This mural was part of an artist in residency program conducted by David Humphries and Rodney Monk in N.W. Tasmania in1986. Several projects were achieved during their 3 month residency including this 'Arts in Working Life' mural project at Associated Pulp and Paper Mills, (APPM). Burnie Tasmania.
The project was organised through the unions and NW Tasmania's Community Arts Committee. Funded by Tasmania Arts Ministry, CCDU, Australia Council, the unions and management of APPM.

With enthusiastic support from union reps and management the artists became part of the workplace. To establish a concept for the murals design they embarked on intensive research, involving photographic documentation of all the processes in paper production. From genetic engineering of seeds in the nursery, plantation harvesting, wood chipping, to the final processes of paper production.

Their consultation with the workforce not only gave them a thorough overview of the whole industrial process  it gained them insight into the attitudes of the workers, a valuable input in developing the murals theme.
''There maybe closet greenies here, but our town is dependent on the Mill ''was a common response.
Clearly the artists had to take this on board and come up with an image that would express the mood of the whole workforce. 

To further opportunities for input, workshops and an exhibition of this documentation were held in the staff cafeteria. The image was developed as a collage of photos from the exhibition. All stages of the design development were reviewed and the final design rectified before painting began. This required maximum communication across the board.
The Union liaison officer was a key player in this process. 

The mural, done in segments, on weather  proof ply panels, was to be affixed to the outside wall. The staff gymnasium was transformed into a studio, the design was scaled up, allowing everyone the opportunity to be involved in its making. Many of the work force took the opportunity to participate in the painting., A core team developed, and the murals production attracted a committed audience. 

The process devised by the artists for this project ensured a sense of authorship and ownership by all at APPM allowing the mural to stand proudly on the wall at the front gate without compromising or alienating the community.