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Solar art for city

Saturday, 26th November, 2011

LIT UP: Bonita Ely’s 2010 work, ‘Thunderbolt’, is a prime example of the solar art work that will hit the city next year. LIT UP: Bonita Ely’s 2010 work, ‘Thunderbolt’, is a prime example of the solar art work that will hit the city next year.

By Kurtis Eichler

Solar art will light up the night skies and show everyone a new form a sculpture when it hits the city next year.

In the exhibition, ‘Desert Equinox - a solar art exhibition,’ solar powered lit-up sculptures will adorn the front of various buildings to create an exotic trail through the city.

The artwork, designed by artists from as far away as Germany, will be on show for three weeks from late 2012.

All of the works will be free standing, with video and sound works accompanying the sculptures.

Network Development Officer for Desert Knowledge Australia, Susan Thomas, predicted the exhibition would “take off.”

“Each artwork will be made in context to the local business involved, taking into account aspects such as their history, architecture and surrounding streetscape,” she said.

“A lot of the sculptures will have moving parts.”

Desert Equinox was developed after Desert Knowledge Australia was awarded a grant to develop public art and solar energy art.

“It would be really good if we knew of any local artists that were exploring solar energy,” Ms Thomas said 

Ms Thomas said 10 businesses were considering joining the exhibition.

“I’d like to double that,” she said, and she is inviting businesses to exhibit the solar works in front of their shops. 

It’s estimated that 18 international and Australian artists will set up the sculptures across the city.

The Regional Event Centre Trust’s Cheryl Krutli said she was interested in having a sculpture outside the Radford Pavilion at the racecourse.

“Because it’s out there in an open area, it’d be perfect for night time viewing,” she said.

“I personally know how beautiful it is out at the racecourse at night.”

Such works have been exhibited before. Arts lecturer and artist Bonita Ely created her piece ‘Thunderbolt’ outside Sydney Olympic Park with the assistance of local Art Exchange vice president, Dennis Watson.

The early stages of the design were drafted in the city when the pair were living at the Art Exchange in Duff Street.

Made from a recycled windmill, the 5.8 metre-high work uses photovoltaic technology and data from Energy Australia to give people an insight into energy consumption while lighting up the night sky.

It passersby tap in their postcode, the sculpture streams data from the service and changes colour to indicate the amount of domestic energy used in that area.

“Ely always hoped that the full scale version, imagined as high as a communications tower, could be one day built in Broken Hill from where it was originally conceived,” Ms Thomas said.

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