Petrus Spronk

“WTF?” I thought when reading the story about ‘voting for the Big rainbow‘, in The Wombat Post a couple of weeks ago. A story about a big steel structure to spoil the entrance – or any other spot in our town. The main street looks sad enough without adding another monstrosity to the landscape.

A couple of days ago I drove home from a visit to Adelaide. It was slightly misty and occasionally a little rain splattered onto the windscreen. A rainbow appeared and disappeared alongside my car throughout my journey. The special and magical aspect of this phenomena is its etherial quality, the softness of the appearance and the now-it’s-here-and-now-it-isn’t aspect.

The car, in driving mood, nosed its way slowly out of the Adelaide suburbs, through the hills and onto the highway to Victoria. Flicks of landscape revealed themselves through openings in the mist, like an exhibition of landscape paintings in a gallery painted soft grey. Painterly landscapes with soft edges. Textured fields, in the colours of the early winter, were accompanied by left over colour splashes of late autumn. All the while a gentle rain fell to intensify the colours, turning this particular exhibition into one of watercolours.

Quietly driving along, from a ‘meditative moment in front of the truly amazing rock formation which is the Grampians’, I drove in between the rich golden lace of numerous wattle trees alongside the road to another sculpture. This one, an enormous Koala bear created from sickly grey concrete, sits besides the road as if having a poo. I silently apologise to this species of bear. Man’s misplaced attempt at a cultural expression, putting back the cultural growth of Victoria by eons. In fact, put it back to a prehistorical try at sculpture. At least the sculptures from that era had a power which cannot be said of this eyesore at Dadswell Bridge on the road to and from Adelaide.

Then I notice that people were entering this tamed wild beast through its crutch, not knowing how stupid and degrading that looks. So much for our culture which has manifested one of its horrid expressions into this beautiful landscape. Forced by law, to reduce speed to 80 kph to view this thing, I do not stop, but continue, wondering about our fascination with those BIG sculptures all around the country, or should I call them mere things. An expression of the primary school level of our culture.

Then, I returned home to the news that there was an attempt to offload another monstrous construction of something big by Tinder and that Daylesford was shortlisted. Another in the list of Big things. Still in the mood of the beautiful journey with the mental images fresh in my mind, I couldn’t accept the idea that we here in Daylesford could soon be the host to a BIG sculpture alongside the pooing Big koala, the Big banana. The Big pineapple etc. The “mine is Bigger than yours” syndrome.

The expression of my point of view has nothing to do with the LGBTQIA+group, which I think is an excellent part of our community, along with Daylesford hosting the annual ChillOut festival. It has everything to do with the aesthetic quality of this project and how terrible and out of place it would look anywhere in or around our town, a town which has a well deserved reputation as a community with a vibrant creative community which surely could do better then this lump of a thing.

It just does not belong in our town, where we, consequently, will be the laughing stock of the whole of the Shire plus its many visitors. Unsuspecting visitors, or worse, those visitors who came expressly to view this thing. This is also not an expression of the town’s creative quality, but rather keeps us back in the dark ages of our cultural development. I couldn’t imagine where this eyesore would look good.

If I think of the rainbow which we receive as a present from nature, with its soft and gentle quality, and how it surprises and delights us always with its unexpected appearance, how could you possibly expect the same experience from a steel object, no matter how big or how colourful, which has taken the rainbow as its object to copy.

For goodness sake, vote against having it in Daylesford.


Petrus Spronk is a local artist and sculptor who contributes a monthly column to The Wombat Post.