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Award to artist John Murray

Outback Artist John Murray of Lightning Ridge and the Percy Hobson mural on Bourke’s water tower. PHOTOS TWH

The Bourke Water Tower could be a top contender for next year’s Australian Street Art Awards, according to the chief artist who helped transform the structure as part of a community art project last year.

John Murray designed and painted the Percy Hobson image along with a team of other artists and was the artist behind the original ‘Welcome to Bourke’ sign at the site.

His incredible work adorns buildings and structures across the western NSW, and his hometown of Lightning Ridge is renowned as much for John Murray’s colourful artworks as for its colourful opals.

Now, John has been recognised by taking out two silver medals in the nationwide Street Art Awards, one for ‘Stanley’, the 19-metre-tall sculpture on the Castlereagh Highway, ten kilometres outside Lightning Ridge and the other his mural ‘Too Kool for Skool’.

Painting that mural was how the whole ‘hands’ thing got started,” John said. “I was painting it and this kid came up and asked if he could put his hands in the paint and leave a handprint.

“I said no, went home and thought about it and the next day I told him ‘Sure, put your handprints on it’ and then he was joined by a few more kids who did the same and, in the end, it was all the kids in the community.

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