Shedding a Light on Orford
with artist Cat Bailey
The Shedding a Light on Orford Project is a land based art project, funded by the Moyne Shire’s Pitch Project in Southern Victoria, involving the creation of physical and virtual pathways, created over huge tracts of land, in the shape of various local endangered plant and animal species. These pathways are recorded on a mobile phone app, whilst being physically walked in the land. The final work is a large outdoor dusk installation involving the land based images created on the app, juxtaposed against 50 recycled plastic bags with hand-drawn glow in the dark images of local indigenous food sources. Community members engage with the project by playing a form of hide and seek, searching for the plastic, glow in the dark bags in bush.
Project: Commissioned by Moyne Shire as part of the Pitch Project and Regional Arts Victoria Home is where the hall is
Acknowledgements: I’d like to thank the Orford Community for being open to the possibilities of this project, as well as the Moyne Shire Staff associated with the Pitch Project for their trust and support.
Intention: Celebrate Orford Community using Art and Community Development Strategies to engage the people of the town and surrounding communities.
Community Consultation and Research Opportunities:
– At a meeting for Committee for Orford and community working bee.
Initial feedback – was the Orford townsfolk would like to make a history book. This morphed into a paving stone project for the Reserve, which referenced and used impressions of historical objects important in the town’s creation in concrete pavings which glowed in the dark. Wow the talent and enthusiasm of the participants really made this part of the project satisfying.
I arrived early for the very first community consultation and in the dark could not see where I could put the key in the key hole to enter the hall. So was born Shedding a light on Orford project. There was a light there but it was not working at the time. However this led to the creation of the Orford Neon Sign which was designed directly from my handwriting by the team lead by Ian Hooper at Hawthorn signs & neon Pty. ltd
– Meetings at Pallisters and Pretty Hill Reserve
With the question “What formed Orford?”I spoke with Dav Pitts, Biodiversity Officer from Department of Sustainability and Peter Carrucan and Peter Bolte from Pallisters Reserve about the geology and fauna and flora indigenous to the area. It was in these reserves, the local sports ground and farm paddocks that I spent time walking, looking for rare Orchids such as the Pretty Leek Orchid and watching Brolgas. This information led to the Orchid and Brolga egg paste-ups on the hall to signify the delicacy and uniqueness of this particular community and its environment. It was such a privilege watching the Brolgas dance and grow their chicks in the areas surrounding Orford.
Walking Orford area, Pretty Hill Reserve and Pallisters
I like to do is to walk the land and get a feel for it. Spent time doing this in the above mentioned areas and mapping the areas on an app. See further information. I really enjoyed this part of the project and had such interesting felt experiences connecting with the land in this way.
From this the artwork involving 8 shopping trolleys donated by Woollies and 50 plastic bags with images of indigenous food sources was born. Thanks to Jo Grant for her Orchid images on twenty of the bags. At dusk on the night of the Shedding a light on Orford Event, the brightly light shopping trolley’s were wheeled around by families and tribes of children in search of shopping bags. Perhaps the project evolved this way because whilst I was walking the land and seeing the indigenous food sources I was reminded of a time when the first people of Orford, the Gunditjmara people, lived harmoniously from the land and did not create masses of plastic rubbish or spend time in pursuit of material possessions like we do in the 21st Century.
Spent time in the Glenelg Shire Library researching the volcanic geology of the area.
Outcomes of project
New Pavement/Lighting/Artworks for the Community
Awareness of Hall/new bore
Event created interest in Orford from other regions
Brought people together
Engagement of community through the arts
Fun night – especially for kids (Not many kids left in Orford)
Some educational outcomes
Increased community and artist knowledge of rare and endangered species in area
Connection with the historical aspects of the site
Artists skill development in management of a project, creation of Neon
Creation of new work
Connection to place
Conversations around the history of Orford
Conversations around having more music nights in Orford.
Orford people would still like a book about their history
Future Outcomes: –
In Orford there is a beautiful memorial stone dedicated to the loss of lives by the First Nation People after the arrival of the early colonisers. (you can see pictures and read more about this stone here http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/culture/indigenous/display/95448-aboriginal-memorial) Future funding support for indigenous artists in this area to continue to magnify the presence of Indigenous Australia’s culture and history would have great implications for the area.
Community Sponsorship and Support
Troy at Bamix in Port Fairy for Concrete/sand and gravel for pavings
Hammond’s Paints in Portland for clear concrete glaze
Orford Community for creation of paving
Geoff Riordan and Craig Midgley for Neon Light Installation and ongoing support and development of the project
Trisha Riordan, Bert, Fran and Dan Jarret and Lynn and others whose names I do not have – community creators, support and facilitation of the project and event.
Murray Eskdale for early idea discussions
Jo Grant Creative Arts Facilitator For Regional Arts Victoria for keeping project on track, 20 plastic bag images and photography
Susie Lyons for support and light switching
Trevor Flinn for installation guidance and assistance
Janelle Baulch Lost Orford Facebook page and project support
Dav Pitts – Biodiversity Officer from the Department of Sustainability information on the very rare and endangered Pretty Leek Orchid
Lauren Kivisalu – Nature Glenelg Trust for plant species information
Peter Carrucan, Peter Bolte, Trevor and Jan from Pallisters Reserve for flora and fauna information.