Petrus Spronk


Such a wonderful word.

I remember when it first made itself known to me, when iIheard it spoken and I also noted how great it looked as a word when it popped up in a text. I also remember the first Swiss-Italian landscape exhibition. I first heard this word in June 1998 when the exhibition was being installed. I also remember the time I went to see this remarkable show. There were about 60-70 paintings (which in itself was a fantastic achievement) and the show was one of quality, of freshness, of the new. Anyway, I was so excited that I wrote a letter, via the editor, to the locals about this wonderful exhibition and said that you certainly didn’t want to miss it.

And the then owner and editor, must have liked my letter, because he placed it on page three with a fancy border around it.

I thought that pretty special so I wrote another letter for the paper the following week and once again there was a border around it. This was how my letter became a story became a column.

I have kept this going for 25 years (this coming June) in one way or another for all that time. When I went to Korea as an artist in residence I kept the column going in the shape of a fortnightly email letter from Seoul.

All this to started me reminiscing about


The Swiss-Italian Festa was an event initially set up and run by a handful of locals. Maybe it would help to remember some delightful details:
Who could forget. the parade down the street from the present radius gallery to the Reserve?
Decorations, masks and banners all made in the various art classes and at home after school.
During the actual parade there were a lot of mums and dads, but no one was watching because everybody wanted to be in the parade!
There were bucket loads of joy, happiness and laughter with expectations of what was about to come.


And what was about to come, was unfolding in the Reserve.
Every school had a table from which they sold food and merchandise to make money for the school,while from the sound shell school choirs were singing Italian songs.
The whole a joyous and magical feast!


But, the best came last – the lantern parade which ran along the park path (lit by the mysterious light of candles in paper bags) across the bridge into the park.
The surrounding forest getting dark had a bit of mystery, a bit of dark night excitement, with the on setting night providing the darkness.
While a bit scared, the kids and mums and dads settled down to await the first fireworks going off – “ahhsss…” and “ohsss…” a plenty.
And always excellent fireworks.
And always over too soon, as was the Festa itself.
The festa, a homemade event with entertainment also for the grown ups, although I felt it was mainly for the kids.
And this goes to show that with a few ideas, plus coloureds paper some paint and glue it is possible to put together a great event.


In the meantime we are without a full committee and there won’t be no Swiss Italian event this year.
So what about some younger folk take over the reigns? Some of the older ones, I am sure, are willing to give some assistance to run this event of delight and happiness.


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