City of Karratha Public Art Procurement

Arts & Culture
The Client
City of Karratha
Project Team
Kate Parker
Associate - Arts & Culture
Tegan Patrucco
Consultant - Arts & Culture
The Project

Over the last 40 years, Karratha has changed significantly. This began with lifting of the iron ore embargo in the 1960s and the first exports drove major demand for residential and other infrastructure. Karratha’s first modern-day residents settled in 1971, following planning and construction of an ‘open government town.’ However,
for some 40,000 years the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people have called the region home. Intimately acquainted with the interconnectedness of its flora, fauna, land, seasons and defining features, their connection to Country endures today.

Karratha’s narrative is wide and varied. Today, its story is about mining and resources and there is a strong vision to leverage arts and cultural pursuits to catalyse community transformation from this identity into a vibrant and desirable place – Australia’s most liveable regional city.

Our Role

In 2019 element was engaged to lead the procurement of four significant and high profile public artworks for Karratha. Complex site considerations and requirements regarding cyclone ratings were integrated into artist briefs, released via a tender process in early 2020. element then worked closely with artists / artist teams to deliver the artworks, alongside a series of community engagement sessions.


The resulting artworks will enliven Karratha’s city centre and act as iconic wayfinding and destinations, reflective of the community’s unique identity and location. This public art will become both stand alone attractions in their own right, but will also contribute to the tapestry of art and cultural experiences evident within the town – and growing steadily.

The first artwork completed is a mural in Karratha’s Walgu Park, a collaborative work by Wendy Warrie, Kaye Warrie, Sharon Warrie and Sarah Hicks of Cheeditha Art Group and Jill Churchside. Artists Helen Ansell and Carrie McDowell worked with the artists to create this sensational piece. It features native flora and fauna including Sturt Desert Pea, Wattle Bush, emus, and representations of tidal lines and distinctive Pilbara landscapes.

Following an expression of interest, which garnered national and international interest, Western Australian artist Chris Nixon's artwork has been selected and endorsed by the City’s Cultural Advisory Group and elected members to create a mural on one of the town’s prominent water tanks. This project is due for delivery in early 2021.

What We Delivered
  • Advisory services and recommendations as to the final artwork locations, scope and scale
  • Detailed artist briefs, released via City tender processes
  • Access to a comprehensive artist database
  • Management of procurement process and artist liaison
  • Two significant mural artworks commissioned
  • Two sculptural works in the process of being procured

Related Projects

Public Art Strategy and Masterplans, Policy and Guidelines
Beaufort Street Vacancy Project
City of Armadale Public Art Procurement