Did I spot Van Gogh's Sunflowers in Outback Queensland?

During my tour of Outback Queensland, we passed through Emerald. This along with Sapphire and Rubyvale is the centre of gem mining in regional Queensland.

Significant finds of sapphires and rubies have been mined here over the years and still occurs today. We toured an underground mine and saw families busy fossicking through rubble in the hope of finding a gem stone.

No emeralds in this area, however I spotted a giant easel in an Emerald park featuring a replica of Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers.

There was no time to stop, but I had to find out more! My research lead me to the following details:

Van Gogh's Sunflowers in Morton Park, Emerald (1)

This painting of Van Gogh's sunflower is situated in Morton Park, Emerald. The superstructure is 25 metres high with approximately 13.6 tonnes of steel involved in its construction. It is part of a concept by Cameron Cross to erect seven Sunflower sculptures in seven different countries, reproducing Van Gogh's seven different Sunflower paintings. Emerald's Sunflower Painting was finished on 8 November 1999.

The painting celebrates the Central Highland's reputation as a major sunflower producer.4

Cameron Cross - working on his giant replicas of Van Gogh's Sunflowers (5)

I had a look at the website or the artist Cameron Cross who comments:

*The first easel was completed and erected in Canada; the second in Australia and the third easel now rests in the state of Kansas, USA.

Van Gogh painted seven different but similar Sunflower paintings between the years 1888-1889. The symbolic reference of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings is strong. I believe he saw the Sunflower as a representation of life, hope and renewal.

This series of large easels reflects my own interest in appropriation and reproduction in contemporary art. The sites for this project will range from several thousand to several million people.

The idea of taking a very traditional symbol of art – the 19th century still life on an easel – and enlarging it to an enormous proportion, interests me greatly. The traditional ‘painting on an easel’ is now a contemporary work of sculpture. By placing virtually the same sculpture in different countries, with distinct cultures, I am curious as to how these sculptures will be interpreted.

Will the sculpture be perceived for its reference to the sunflower, Van Gogh or art in general?* 5

I pondered this question and to me the sculpture is a wonderful reminder of Van Gogh's interpretation of sunflowers - the flower heads always face the sun which gives me a happy feeling and brings a smile to my face.

And what also brings a smile is to welcome new subscribers as I can do this morning as A.S. in Delaware has just joined the AnArt4Life on-line community.

Photo by Carles Rabada / Unsplash

1 tripadvisor.com
2 minersheritage.com.au
3 my own photo
4 queensland.com
5 cameroncross.com