Friday, 29 October 2010

Broken Hill

Broken Hill is an interesting town. It's primarily a mining town - silver mining to be specific. It's also the birthplace of the world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton.

Mad Max2 was filmed here and Mad Max 4 will be as well. The latest movie may have to wait until Broken Hill goes back to being it's usual dry and dusty self. Apparently the film has been delayed due to rains in the area leaving Broken Hill looking too lush.

There's also a large number of artists in residence resulting in loads of art throughout the town both indoors and out, in galleries and public spaces.

Yesterday we had a good look around the town.  In the afternoon we visited galleries and shops.  In the evening we went with Jill and Steve (the "lovely couple" I mentioned in my last post) to the Broken Hill Sculptures & Living Desert Sanctuary.

In 1993 the town conducted a "Sculpture Symposium" where twelve sculptors from various parts of the world were invited to work for six weeks on sculptures on Sculpture (Sudown) Hill .  All work was done with hand tools.  There were no power tools at all.

Prior to beginning work the sculptors were taken to Mootwingee National Park to view Aboriginal art carvings dating back up to 30,000 years.  The result of  this experience along with their individual ethnic backgrounds can be seen in the final works.

My favourites are:

Motherhood by Badri Salushia of Tbilisl, Georgia. 
The artist was unable to contact his family during the period he was sculpting due to the war in Azerbigan.  His sadness is reflected in his work.  He said "The Child is a portrait of my son and the fine details are left to your own interpretation"
Bajo El Sol Jaguar (Under the Jaguar Sun) by Anotonio Nava Tirado of Mexico City, Mexico
The sculpture is based on the music of Jorge Reyes "Bajo El Sol Jaguar".  The sun and moon depict duality.  Night is represented by Venus.  The mouth of the Jaguar takes the sun into it's mouth at night to protect it.  Day is represented by the circle created by the sun.
Angels of the Sun and the Moon by Valerian Jikiya of Rustiva, Georgia
The artist worked all night under the full moon several times to work out the planes and shadows for his sculpture which he described as a "device to measure time and light".  The eastern face reflects the moon, and the western face, the sun.  The shadows moving continuously over the sculpture change it from season to season.  There is a sundial at the back which casts a shadow that falls in the triangle each year at the time that the artist was at work on the sculpture
Horse by Jumber Jikiya of Rustavi, Georgia
At the time of the symposium the artist was President of the Georgian Sculpture Society.  He was very impressed with the sculpture site and said "My first thoughts were that the stone arrangement was so powerful in itself, that the symposium was already complete and we could go on holiday!".  His work is a tribute to horses.  "People must be aware of the nobility of the horse.  At Stalin's request all the Georgian horses were slaughtered."
Tiwi Totems by Gordon Pupangamirri of Tiwi, Bathurst Island
The Tiwi people of Bathurst Island have a tradition of carving burial poles.  The sculpture represents a typical burial pole with motifs of birds, fish and tortoise.
Bajo El Sol Jaguar looked especially impressive at sunset.  It's a good thing too, as I was starting to wonder if all the recommendations to see various tourist attractions at sunset were perhaps a way to keep people from leaving the town.  :)

Mike did a great job with this photo (as he keeps reminding me!).
The views at sunset were lovely as well.

Speaking of views, we went to the most bizarre restaurant for lunch today.  Well, the restaurant itself was quite nice, but the location, sitting atop a "line of load" (the waste heap from over a century of mining operations) was certainly bizarre!

The restaurant is the building on the right
Here's what the front of the restaurant looked like.  I told you it was unusual!

The disused mining equipment adds a nice ambiance.  Don't you agree?
The food was nice though, and the glass walls provided views over the town.

Plus, they had a nice comfy chair waiting for me before I even got to the restaurant!

"Park Bench" is actually a public art installation by a Canadian Sean O'Keefe who now lives in area. His aim was to confront adults to sit as children.

We also visited Silverton which is a ghost town of sorts (population 50) located approximately 24 kilometers west of Broken Hill.

The town is full of art galleries and arts and crafts shops.  It's also a popular destination for movie makers.

Mad Max memorabilia

Population:  50 people and two donkeys.

A highlight of the day (not) was going to the automotive parts shop to buy a screen to put over the grille of the car.  Apparently there is a locust plague building in Victoria and everyone is buying screens to protect their car radiators from invading locusts.  Oh joy.

When we got back to the camper tonight the wind started picking up.  Mike has battened down the hatches and the rain has started.  Lets hope that we get a reprieve in the morning so that we don't have to pack up in the rain.  Tomorrow we move further south into Victoria.

P.S.  Have I mentioned that although we are in NSW, we are on Adelaide time?  These random time zones are confusing and just a little insane.

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