Sydney artist Alex Lehours rises to the challenge of a 105m mural reflecting Liverpool’s history

ONE man. A 105m mural. Six weeks. Cindy Ngo 23-11-2016

That is the challenge for Northmead artist Alex Lehours, who has been commissioned to complete a 105m mural for the Paper Mill development in Liverpool.

When completed, the $600 million development, located on the site of one of the oldest paper mills in Australia, will comprise more than 1000 apartments.

The 31-year-old artist has until the end of the year to complete the mural; the first lick of paint was applied last Wednesday.

Most days, the former graphic designer spends 12 hours painting at the Shepherd St site, which sits on the edge of the Georges River.

He was approached in October with a brief to reflect the site’s rich history and the community. It is the biggest project he has worked on so far.

“They said from day one they want it to be an artwork, not an advertisement. As an artist that’s what you love to hear,” Mr Lehours said.

Armed with historical documents, he came up with a concept design in a couple of days.

The mural features portraits of people from a range of cultures to highlight Liverpool’s diverse community.

It also features famous faces from Liverpool’s history, including British wool merchant James Atkinson and American whaling captain Ebenezer Bunker, who owned much of what is known as Liverpool today.

A horse reflects the area’s military significance as a training base for the Light Horse Regiment before World War I.

It is also symbolic of the role horses played during trade when the site operated as a paper mill.

“There’s so much history behind it, there’s so much I had to cut out,” Mr Lehours said.

It was a 35-degree day when the Leader visited the artist on-site to discuss the project.

“People have been telling me all day, ‘go home, it’s too hot to work, think about your health.’ It’s not that bad, it could be worse. I’m just going to push through,” Mr Lehours said.

“When it is a blank wall it is daunting. You stare at it and think, ‘this is huge.’ Once the lines come on and it’s broken up, it becomes more manageable. It’s almost like colouring in,” he said.

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