Broken Hill was my childhood home in the 1970s, where the Brushmen of the Bush inspired me to paint. 40 years later I returned to paint its streets and landmarks which still carry the ghosts of memory.
For three weeks in September 2019, I explored the Silver City and painted en plein air, intoxicated by happy memories as well as feelings of loss, in discovering places as I remembered and others profoundly changed with time. I suspect the bitter-sweet experience of homecoming is common to the ex-resident.
Memories are often fractured and conflicted as nostalgia can also be tinged with pain. This tension paralleled my active engagement with the architectural space of the city, negotiating between the past and present, the familiar and the strange. I felt like I brought the perspectives of the outsider and the local together in depicting the eclectic architectural heritage of a unique outback town.
From the famous Trades Hall which stands as a testimony to the fighting spirit of the miners, to the declining Zinc Oval that once hosted the Silver City Gift, or corner shop where kids bought mixed lollies, and vacant block where cubbies were built in the midst of thong-piercing three-cornered jacks, I see a place where histories, personal and collective, were made.
The road-based perspective alludes to the fact that we all live in the midst of mobility in which the sense of moving on is a constant. Nevertheless the yearnings and fantasies of home persist. I borrowed a lyric from a Leonard Cohen song as the title for this exhibition. – Kevin McKay
Exhibition and Artist Details
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, 404-408 Argent Street, Broken Hill 2880 View Map
404-408 Argent Street ,
Broken Hill 2880