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Large-Scale Public Sculpture

About the project

Using materials drawn from mining operations and representing the lives of men and women working in mining, this project will result in a large-scale public work that will reflect the lives of mining workers in the Pilbara.

Artist Alex Mickle is working with mine workers in Paraburdoo to build a large-scale public sculpture for the townArtist Alex Mickle is working with mine workers in Paraburdoo to build a large-scale public sculpture for the town

Lead artist

Sculptor Alex Mickle is a well-regarded exhibiting visual artist and an experienced public artist. Alex specialises in large-scale public artworks, often collaborating with his partner Nicole Mickle. Scattered throughout the southwest region of Western Australia, their contemporary works enliven and engage the communities they inhabit.


Alex is working with mine workers and community members from Paraburdoo to create the public sculpture. Initial stages involved engaging Rio Tinto staff from Paraburdoo in developing a process for creating the sculpture. Using the little-known technique of 'blast forming', Alex has worked with drill and blast crews from the mine to test methods for creating the steel plate that will be used in the final sculpture.

While the final blast was taking place, work at the Men's Shed began to cut and polish the large piece of hematite stone that will also be part of the work. Anyone interested in participating is welcomg to get involved. Training is provided where participants don't have the relevant skills. The Men's Shed is an active hub for the building of the sculpture, where participants will have the opportunity to redirect their traditional trades towards the creation and installation of the sculpture, and where people can come together to work on a unique work of art and establish new friendships.

The result will be an innovative work that brings together artistic and mining processes to create a unique legacy for the town of Paraburdoo. The sculpture will be unveiled on 18 December 2014.

Community celebration

On Thursday 18 December 2014, the sculpture will be unveiled. A community celebration is a key part of the day, with an evening event open to everyone in Paraburdoo.

A bus will depart at 5.45pm from the drive-in and take community members to the sculpture for a celebration event. The bus will return to the drive in for a 7pm sausage sizzle and the screening of two films: a specially made film on the making of the sculpture, and BELONGING Paraburdoo, the digital artwork created earlier this year when artist Craig Walsh was in town. The event is alcohol free.

Concept and design

To see and read about the sculpture's concept and design, go to the sculpture blog.

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved in the project, contact or call (08) 9430 6616.

Dadaa Principal partnerRio Tinto Arts partner Australia Council