I thought it was about time I stopped lurking about on Twitter and actually used my brain for a bit, so here it is. A blog post containing some pictures featuring impossibly blue skies that may or may not cheer you up if your Seasonal Pissed Off Disorder (SPOD) is in full swing, and some fantastic artworks that have brought a different aspect of life to rural Victoria. I had to do actual research about these works, so you better start appreciating. I don't do this for the good of my health you know!
Right...so....six grain silo sites in the Mallee/Wimmera region of Victoria now have massive portraits painted on them, and it’s a thing and the thing is called the Silo Art Trail and if you can, you should go look at them because they’re really super.
The trail goes from Patchewollock in the north of Victoria and runs 190kms south to Rupanyup, about 45kms east of Horsham. If you’re doing it from Melbourne, you’re looking at a round trip of about 900kms so probably not the smartest thing to do it all in one day. Although it could be done if you so wished, had lots of snacks and were a bit mad.
Being as Flashie and I were up north at Sea Lake (remember; from this post about Lake Tyrrell), we opted to scoot across to Patchewollock and begin there. Because it would’ve been stupid to do it any other way and we definitely ain’t stupid!
So it was that we packed down our little camp, stuffed our gear into the car, took everything out again during a game of "Where's My Bloody Sunglasses?", repacked the car, and then took off for Patche shortly before 10am.
An hour's lazy drive later, we were front and centre to this massive portrait, under a bluer than blue sky, frying in the blazing sunshine.
Queensland artist Fintan Magee (yes of course he’s of Irish extraction; how could he not be with that name?!) had met regional sheep and wheat farmer Nic 'Noodle' Hulland at a local pub and considered his tall, lanky physique would be a perfect match for a silo. Apparently Hulland had hoped the paint would be water based and would wash away whenever a decent bit of rain turned up, but sucked in - that's gonna be there for decades!
Patche has another awesome thing - Angry Birds! Okay, well....not really but giant Mallee Fowl sculptures - how good is that?!?
After mooching around for a bit, we got back on the road and headed off to Lascelles. It's 35 minutes away and so tiny a township that it would be easy to miss it if it weren't for the fact that it's well sign posted because Silo Art is a Thing. And bloody good thing too because the silos here have been painted by Melbourne based international artist Rone, and I quite like his stuff. Best known for his street art images of anonymous beautiful women, Rone has painted local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman in tones similar to the silos themselves.
Unfortunately, the time of day wasn't conducive to getting a halfway decent picture of Merrilyn but trust me, she looks splendid! It was during this visit that we realised we recognised cars and people from Sea Lake and Patche....were we being followed? Where might our bodies end up?!?!
A relative stone's throw away (well, 25 minute's drive) is the even tinier town of Rosebery where former lawyer turned artist Kaff-eine has turned her hand to depictions of rural life.
No stranger to horses and country living, Kaff-eine assisted Rone in Lascelles and spent considerable time getting to know the locals and rural life, before embarking on a silo project of her own. Her shepherdess and horseman emerged after a 2 month stay in the region.
Three silo sites down and it's on to Brim where the first order of the day should be lunch because my stomach alarm went off at least half an hour ago, but it isn't - it's the Farmer Quartet!
These silos were painted by Australian artist Guido van Helten in late 2015 and so enraptured visiting art lovers that it kicked off the whole idea of creating large scale art in small rural towns. Using old grain silos as canvases, the initiative was supported by Local, State and Federal Governments as well as Graincorp (who donated the silos), and artists were invited to come on board to revitalise these tiny towns with their art.
van Helten's work depicting four non-identified local farmers, was a finalist in the 2016 Sir John Sulman art prize, and invites questions: why are they all looking down? why are they all wearing hats? There's only one answer my friends: the big burny bastard in the sky is trying to kill them!
After a bit of lunch by the Yarriambiack Creek and a play on the swings for Flashie, we headed off to find Sheep Hills. About 25 minutes later, we were in another 'blink and you'll miss it' town which seemed to have nothing in it (wrong - about 30 people live here and there's a town hall - posh!) until this amazing sight looms into view.
Set over six silos, Matt Adnate’s image of Aboriginal Australians is truly stunning. A photograph does no justice to this painting – its sheer size, colour and detail have to be seen to be believed. Adnate's work is largely indigenous themed so it's no surprise that he’s chosen to present Wergaia Elder Uncle Ron Marks, Wotjobaluk Elder Aunty Regina Hood and two Horsham area children: Savannah Marks and Curtly McDonald.
I would've happily stayed looking at this for hours but the 32 million billion trillion gazillion flies buzzing around my face were starting to get on my nerves, so we headed off for another 25 minute jaunt to the final silo at Rupanyup.
Sport is often a big part of country life (that’s why there’s almost always a footy field somewhere) so Russian artist Julia Volchkova chose to paint netballer Ebony Baker and footballer Jordan Weidemann on her silos. Fresh-faced and dressed in their sports attire, Ebony and Jordan embody youth and teamwork and are the perfect end to the Silo Art Trail.
So there you (almost) have it. The first completed Silo Art Trail, in little old Victoria - and more are on the way. There are painted silos in Coonalpyn and Kimba (SA), Tungamah, Devenish and Goorambat (north east Vic) as well as Geelong (Vic), plus the Western Australia 'PUBLIC Silo Trail' has just completed its 6th silo at Newdegate. Those places are for another time (especially the WA ones!) and for now I'll leave you with this which I found on the old council building at Rupanyup, just because it's cute.