What started out as a casual conversation about indigenous culture, has turned into a stunning art installation on John Holland’s New Track Construction (NTC) machine. Administration Assistant Marcia McGuire had only previously used her artistic talent to decorate John Holland’s tender documents before word of her ability to spread around the office.
She was then asked if she would like to come up with some designs to adorn equipment that was being sent to the Pilbara.
The NTC will lay 143km of the track at Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana iron ore project as part of a $130 million dollar contract with John Holland for the construction of rail tracks, signaling and infrastructure.
According to Ms McGuire, who has been with John Holland since 2014, the colorful makeover was influenced by a connection to the land, the past and the present. She said:
“I was inspired by the foundational importance of the machine and its impact on our community. The paintings visually explain how the tracklayer lays down the track across our country and different landscapes, connecting communities and businesses throughout WA. It mirrors how the Rainbow Serpent of the Dreamtime created waterholes uniting our lands together. The NTC connects us through trackwork and therefore inspired me to design the serpent.”
It took Ms McGuire nearly 80 hours over the course of a few months to complete the five pieces of artwork. She said:
“On average I would spend about three hours a night working on them. It was a bit of a challenge juggling my role as a mother of two toddlers, working full-time, studying a Double Diploma in Business leadership and Management and starting my own business in the art industry.”
The work has been so successful that Marcia’s artistic skills have been commissioned to design John Holland’s new employee uniforms, which are planned to be unveiled later in the year. Ms McGuire said:
“As a proud Yamatji-Whadjuk-Ballardong woman, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate my heritage through art. I love the artwork in general and I hope my people and non-aboriginal people can enjoy it. I want to encourage any aspiring artists out there to keep trying – there are so many different ways to create art and no one way to do it. If you love it, it can be done. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.”