An Anzac memorial has been brought to life through an immersive light-based art installation initiated by cultural organisation FORM and the City of Albany.
UK artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light: Avenue of Honour, which opens this week, comprises 16,000 lights with individually handcrafted stems and frosted glass spheres that were assembled by a team of 50 local volunteers.
The installation is the second of Mr Munro’s works to be located in Australia, the first being at Uluru, and will remain in place until the conclusion of the Anzac centenary on Anzac Day 2019.
Albany was the embarkation point for 41,000 troops en route to the battlefields of WWI.
Form senior project manager Ellie van Rhyn told Business News she had liaised with Mr Munro since 2016, and her team had identified his experience and artistic style as a relevant fit for Western Australia.
She saw the Albany Avenue of Honour as an ideal opportunity to connect the experienced artist with the award-winning National Anzac Centre.
“I think this artwork will be quite a moving experience,” Ms van Rhyn said.
“The way it has been designed to sit under the avenue of memorial trees, where there are the plaques of the fallen men and women who fought in many different wars, is quite a symbolic gesture that (Mr Munro) has done intentionally.”
Ms van Rhyn said the level of financial support for the project was a good indicator of the growing cultural landscape in WA, and interest in cultural experiences.
“We have Australian government funding through the Building Better Regions fund, state government funding through Tourism WA and Lotterywest, and private sponsorship through Christine and Kerry Stokes,” she said.
“That combination of sponsors just goes to show the level of investment people are looking to make towards cultural tourism and diversifying the tourism basis in regional WA.”
The light installation is a free experience, but Form has also been working with the City of Albany to create packages that visitors can purchase to upgrade their experience.
“People can experience a sunset panorama, visit the National Anzac Centre, and have dinner at Garrison Restaurant, so there are these value-add benefits for some of the local businesses as well,” Ms van Rhyn said.
She said Mr Munro’s 2016 Uluru installation had set an exciting precedent in the realm of cultural tourism, attracting 100,000 visitors in the first 12 months.
This had led to an extension of the exhibition from an initial two years to five years.
Ms van Rhyn said Field of Light: Avenue of Honour was an important addition to Albany’s place in Anzac history.
“They’ve had such an important role to play in the continuing commemorations,” she said.
“I think we’re in a strong position to be looking forward with some sense of peace and hope, which is essentially what this artwork is trying to do.”