Guido Van Helten officially began work on the final four silos at the Portland cement works on Wednesday, May 9.
Work is expected to be complete in the next few weeks after a month of hard work on the first four.
Mr Van Helten did thorough research before undertaking the AWJ Civil funded project, speaking to Portland residents who used to be employed at the cement works.
“I then brought them to the site, some of whom hadn’t stepped inside the gates for over 30 years and just seeing their reactions was what inspired how the artworks were going to be constructed,” Mr Van Helten said.
Having faced criticism on having the subjects backs turned away on the silos, Mr Van Helten wasn’t fazed.
“I don’t really see it as criticism, it’s not really suppose to be about identity, it’s more what these people meant to the site, and if they were all facing head on that would be boring, so it’s just each person’s take on the work,” he said.
Herb Coleman, one of the subjects on the silos, said he was very impressed with the way he had been painted for all of Portland to see.
Mr Coleman was approached by Mr Van Helten about a month ago to talk about his life in Portland and the work he did at the cement works.
Born and bred in Portland, Mr Coleman worked at the cement works as a fitter and turner from 1954 until 1968 when he was made redundant.
“It’s very new and exciting, I know my family is very excited about it,” Mr Coleman said.
Mr Coleman said he realised that he would be on the silo after he got invited to come back to the silos to walk around the area that had been closed off to the public for years.
“The moment I realised brought up these feelings and memories of my time here and now seeing this work, Guido has done a marvellous job,” he said.
Every day Mr Coleman has come to the site to see the progress of the silo painting and to take photos of them, something he will continue to do until the final product.
“My family will have this lasting memory of me and the place which was my home, which is fantastic and so exciting,” he said.
Thomas Ernesrt Fitzgerald was also excited to see himself on the silo, saying it meant a lot to his family.
“Being from Portland and having all the memories of working at the site come back to me, it has been quite the experience,” he said.
“It means a lot to my family who can see this and remember me in years to come.”
While the subjects who are painted on the silos have been singing Mr Van Helten’s praises, residents have questioned why a woman hasn’t been seen on the silos.
“I take what I see, and when doing my research and talking to people, it was a male dominated industry where women weren’t allowed on site, but they were involved in office work and around the site in other ways,” he said.
Mr Van Helten said he had taken this information on board and with the final four artworks still developing, residents should keep watch for a female face.
He is also hoping that these artworks will open the site to new ideas and people.
“People may come for the artworks but then they will see the rich history of the heritage buildings and will hopefully check out what else Portland has to offer,” he said.
The Portland markets, which have been held every Sunday since April will be holding their final market day on Sunday, May 13 as a special day for Mother’s Day.
The markets will then take a one month break before the markets will be moved indoors into one of the buildings at the cement works.