Wednesday, 5th June, 2013
By Erica Visser
The link between art and elitism was once broken with the flick of one man’s paintbrush.
While he was internationally recognised and admired by royalty, politicians and movie stars, the artist was never welcomed and even mocked within the Australian industry.
Most comfortable chatting with a few mates in a pair of old shorts and paint splattered t-shirt, the experimental artist broke the mold to allow everyday people to enjoy art.
On March 28 2006, when the father-of-five died in his late seventies, a State Funeral was offered and, at his family’s insistence, held a week later in Broken Hill where 1000 mourners attended.
Now, it is hoped that the public will remember Pro Hart’s place amongst the people and contribute to a biographical film depicting his life from his childhood on Larloona sheep station, near Broken Hill, to his days working at the city’s mines and his famous carpet commercials.
A film production team, including Broken Hill-born actor Corey Page, hope to create a piece which shows how Pro “triumphed, despite facing a lot of adversity”.
“If you’re going to have a reference point, think “Ray” about Ray Charles and Shine (a film on the life of pianist David Helfgott, starring Geoffrey Rush)” Mr Page said.
“Pro was an outsider and was never embraced by the art establishment.”
The project can be sponsored online through a site called Pozible (www.pozible.com/prohart), which allows fans of a proposed project to pitch in.
Mr Page said that $25,000 was needed to create the script for the biography to be called “Chasing Dragonflies”.
Almost $11,000 has been raised so far, with 17 days before the deadline.
The money would go towards writing the feature script and developing a sales package.
Mr Page said that it was a chance for fans to help the cause and also receive a piece of Pro Hart memorabilia.
“If people donate we’re giving away little prizes; fridge magnets, an invitation to the reading of the script and the exclusive cocktail party, depending on whether you donate a little or a lot.”
Mr Page said that it was estimated the film would cost around $2 million and the team would look towards Screen NSW and Screen Australia for funding.
Script-writer Richard Burman would write the screenplay, and Mr Page said that the art historian was the producers’ “first choice”.
Mr Page expected that after the funding was raised, the script would be written within two to three months.