‘THE WARRAMUNDA ARTWORKS’ (2010)

'PEACHES, PEARS AND CREAM' (2010)

 

The Participants

 

The Peaches, Pears and Cream artwork began at Warramunda Village, Kyabram, Victoria, on October 29, 2010. The creative process took thirty days, with the finishing touches to artwork finally completed on December 8, 2010. One hundred and twelve artists created the work, they included sixty-two residents living at Warramunda, the staff and the volunteers and countless family members and friends. 

 

The participants ranged from a small child named Olivia Zobec, who was then nearing her first birthday, to the oldest resident, the late Mr Horace Shadlers, who died aged 102, just before the work was completed.

 

The Theme

 

The theme of the Peaches, Pears and Cream artwork followed the MAC.ART process and was established through detailed interviews with Warramunda residents. Each individual was asked to contribute a brief life history story and then, if they wished, to add a story about farming life in Kyabram, or the surrounding district. 

 

By the second week, as each storyteller shared both amusing and sad tales of life on the land, an enduring love of country, becomes inseparably linked with the value of hard work. Another theme, the importance of family unity and education quickly emerges to make up the remaining pictorial and graphic representation of this work. These close-knit threads, weave the background, but it is the foreground vignettes that tell the story of a common experience of time and place – that special ingredient so essential to modern “folk” artworks of this kind.

 

The artwork description

 

The Southern Cross in the top right hand corner represents Australia and her harsh but great expanse of land. The Warramunda circle represents a life enclosed in a secure refuge - a safe home to all those who live there. Below the kookaburra the branches of a row of peach, pear, apricot and apple trees reach out across the entire width of the work. Each tree represents an orchardist among the Warramunda population. 

 

The kangaroos share the paddocks with cereal crops fed by irrigation, and the Dethdridge water wheel meters out our most precious commodity – the water that sustains livestock and grows our crops. 

 

A Friesian cow dominates the lower right hand corner. She represents the work and livelihood of generations of Warramunda farmers and their families. 

 

The rose blooms symbolise an appreciation of beauty in nature and enjoyable times spent nurturing and growing home gardens after work.

 

The simple pine crate and fruit tins represents the Kyabram canning industry that has provided the district with employment and ensured personal security for farmers and production line workers for generations. Beside the crate the slate chalkboard acknowledges the outstanding work done by the teachers and educators at Warramunda and applauds each person’s individual commitment and effort to educate the district’s children. 

 

The family seen standing before a farm vehicle, the cream churns and hay bails are this work’s main focus and theme. The structure of the family, its values and spiritual life are central to the life story of every individual living at Warramunda. Each story is tinged with sadness and joy and triumph and tragedy. Each story demonstrates the courage and determination of rural farming communities to overcome adversity and are, above everything else, characteristic of the Australian spirit that has served, built and grown the food of our nation.

 

Above the sepia panel that represents and pays tribute to the horsemen and women of Warramunda stands the Gallipoli lone pine. It commemorates the original “soldier settler” farmers who cleared and cultivated the land around Kyabram last century between the Great War and the Second World War. The red remembrance poppy reminds us of the supreme sacrifice made by many of our countrymen and women during both these wars to keep our nation safe and free. The three roses represent the three services and returned service personnel living at Warramunda past and present.

 

In the top left hand corner the white Ibis flies over Hazelman’s pioneer cottage on its long migratory journey. The Ibis is symbolic of the arduous journey made by many of Warramunda residents who came from across the world to make their home in Kyabram. Together and individually these individuals have made a very significant and valuable contribution to the building of a nation.

 

Lastly, hovering above the majestic gum trees that dominate the Kyabram skyline horizon is a pictorial image of the “returned from active service” badge. The badge acknowledges the returned service men and women, past and present and the important job done by the land-army women.

 

I thank all those who have made their home at Warramunda for their service in the defence of our country and also for their commitment to the care of our land and society. 

‘THE GAY VIRGINIA ROCKMAN ARTWORK’ (2009)