Aerosol artist Jerome Davenport creates mural honouring wartime history in Jerramungup
Jerome Davenport has travelled the world with his art, painting walls in London and joining street art festivals across Europe.
But the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic have led the award-winning muralist from Wickepin to reconnect with his country roots.
His latest work, a mural in Jerramungup, comes after recent pieces in Gnowangerup, Denmark, Waroona and Kellerberrin.
Completed last week on the Kokoda Op Shop, the mural is a tribute to Jerramungup’s history as a soldier settlement town.
It honours the men and women of the defence force and recognises the region’s farming history.
Davenport had a brief from the Shire, but he said it was by chance that he decided to paint Tom Derrick VC, a South Australian World War II hero who has a street named after him in Jerramungup.
Tom “Diver” Derrick was a revered soldier who was killed in action at Tarakan in Borneo.
After his involvement in the Siege of Tobruk and the battles of El Alamein, he received the Victoria Cross for actions against the Japanese in New Guinea.
“It’s great if we can honour those guys in any way possible,” Davenport said.
“Going to war at such a young age and giving up so much compared to the pretty cruisy lives we have now — we have a lot to be thankful for.”
It is not the first mural Davenport, who is now based in Perth, has painted that commemorates wartime service.
“I created one over in London as well for Remembrance Day,” he said.
“I’d love to do something one day for one of the military bases or for the Australian War Memorial, that would be a highlight if I was ever to do that.”
In 2015, at the age of 25, he created a portrait of West Coast Eagles star Nic Naitanui which was entered into the Archibald Prize.
He has honed his craft over the years, to the point that the Jerramungup mural took him only eight days to complete.
The co-founder of international artist collective Blank Walls, Davenport will no doubt have work to attend to in London once the international borders open.
But in a series of commissioned pieces that depict the key figures and traits of communities, he has already left his mark across country WA.
“COVID has obviously restricted my travels. Normally I’d be back and forth to the UK and all over, but I’m happy to be home at the moment,” Davenport said.
“The country’s home and it’s great to be able to bring big street art pieces that you might normally find in the city to these country towns.
“It’s good for them and hopefully it’s a bit of a drawcard.”
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