Petrus Spronk

Some time ago I was asked to contribute a few words for an evening at the Radius Gallery, organised by Hepburn Matters, in relation to issues to do with the ongoing saga of The Rex. So I went home, rummaged around in my box of words and came up with the following…

One. My contribution for this special meeting were a few thoughts related to life, death and resurrection. I hoped that as a result of, the facts of death and dying, this would turn out to be a motivation for creative action.

Two. This came about when I thought of dying. When you die and two or so generations go by, you will be forgotten – you and every beautiful thing about this amazing time and place we live in now will disappear into the mists of time or of forgetfulness or of I don’t give a shit.

Who can still remember the events at the Power House Gallery, the mayhem at the Cosy Corner poetry readings, the intensity of the annual Swiss-Italian landscape painting prize?

Three. The other day I was approached in the street by Gary Lawrence, who is the curator of the Daylesford Museum. (Have you visited recently? They have an amazing array of historical objects which have the power to, at once, transform the present into the past.) Gary asked me if I would like to donate a piece of my work to the Museum. When I asked him why, he explained that as a result of my work being in the museum, the viewer would be informed that I was, or had been, a creative part of the history of Daylesford for about 40 years around the turn of the centur. Therefore I should be represented, and with that, as a consequence, a small bit of Daylesford’s creative history would also be revealed.

I donated a piece of my work which is now part of the Museum collection.

When, sometime later in the museum, I was checking up how my work was represented, it struck me that I would be introduced through my work to those who came after, and that they could possibly be inspired, and that if I asked some of my contemporaries for a piece of their work, future locals and visitors alike would be able to get a pretty good picture of what was going on in the creative aspect of today’s Daylesford and to enjoy and learn from it.

Four. Now, when I put these three points together, I think you will understand where I am going with this. My idea for The Rex proposes an area for the permanent art collection of Daylesford. The Rex place in vincent street is a perfect spot: it is easy to visit, there is car parking available and, as a result of the richness of today’s artists work, this permanent exhibition would entertain and could be inspirational.

Besides, the idea of The Rex as the home of the Daylesford art collection, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the living arts, particularly the cinema, because a town without a cinema is like a person without dreams.

And since there is as yet no infrastructure behind The Rex facade in Vincent street, the architect could design the necessary spaces for the showing of art and movies, as part of the building project – not something tacked on at a later date. In this way, it wouldn’t take too much space and the building would be enhanced by it.

This, I think would be an inspiring aspect of the new Rex. I see the design of the Rex containing spaces which would be inspiring just to be in. This of course is the architect’s job. It would also be informative and our students would be able to learn from it. All this because I feel that there is a need for an art collection that belongs to the people of the Shire.

The point I am making is that when we make a contribution ‘today for tomorrow’, we are investing in the future. We may be able, just maybe, to inform the future locals and visitors alike so that they will understand a little about our lives here and now. And that generosity of spirit, which is the art community, will shine through at the at the next generation and the ones to come.

In addition, if the powers that be, in this case the owners/developers are willing to allow art and creative expression to be a part of the Rex, they may as yet not know it, but they would surely be blessed, and they would also be a part of the magic which is the creative spirit.

Oh, my box of words is empty. Thank you for your attention.

Petrus Spronk is a local artist who contributes a regular column to The Wombat Post.