Dookie art silos on the move

By John Lewis

Rusting portable grain silos have been rescued from paddocks around the Dookie district and turned into mobile artworks as part of the 24th Shepparton Festival.

The Nomadic Silos concept comes from Liz Evans and Andrew ‘Sandsy’ Sands of Dookie Artists Tree gallery and plant nursery.

“This is an affordable way for Dookie to get on the silo art trail and it brightens up the town at the same time,” Ms Evans said.

Their own Nomadic Silo consists of broken and discarded hay rakes which have been repaired and painted, then attached to a 50-year-old disused silo made by Nhill farmer Raymond Sherwell and donated by Mr Sands’ father, Dookie farmer John Sands. It now sits in the backyard of their gallery and nursery, just off Mary St.

“I think they look a bit like sea urchins under ripples of water,” Ms Evans said of the colourful rakes.

Retired art academic Domenico de Clario travelled from Mildura to paint a large grain bin donated by Dookie farmer John Petschack.

Italian-born Mr de Clario said the idea of mobile art appealed to him.

“I've made public art before, but I've never made a work that can be moved around,” he said.

As a former head of art at Melbourne's Monash University and at Perth's Edith Cowan University, and a director of Adelaide's Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Mr de Clario has a long career in art to draw upon.

He has painted symbols in Mandarin and Arabic together with jottings by 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson on the panels of the grain bin, which had been converted from an old quarry truck.

“I like the idea that something which once contained wheat to nurture the body now has art to nurture the soul.”

Other silos around Dookie have been painted by indigenous artist Tom Day and Tongala couple Sophie Wilson and Davidson Lope. Shepparton artist Tank has also completed a colourful mobile silo at Tallis Winery just outside the town.

All will be on display as permanent fixtures during and after the Shepparton Festival.