Sun falls on The Beacon to reveal sweet surprise

This article appeared in the Mackay Daily Mercury on 23 November 2018.

THE Beacon will stop shining tonight.

The lovely yellow glow from the sunflower crop, named The Beacon, at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens’ Meadowlands will be cut tonight at the community event – Sunflower and Song.

The sunflowers have been a part of “land art”, the work of Wollongong artists Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams and Marian farmer Simon Mattsson.

Mr Ihlein said the living art installation, which was planted in August, has been a point of focus and had attracted many people including photographers.

The meaning behind the planting will be explained tonight but Mr Ihlein said the idea was about using alternative methods in farming to improve soil and lessen poisons.

The sunflowers have been a companion plant for sugarcane and demonstrate how smart planting and practices can benefit the farmers, community and environment.

This is the second time the artists have used sunflowers as a form of art in Mackay after the success of Sunset Symphony.

The public is invited to a harvest celebration where the artists and farmers will host Sunflower and Song – a community celebration where the sunflowers will be harvested alongside music, dance, and good food.

The event starts at 6pm and features the Diranga Gangali Aboriginal Dancers, the Sakwolo Islander Dancers, Woodbridge, and Zenith Rhythms.

Farmer Simon Mattsson will discuss soil health, and the artists will screen a documentary about Sunset Symphony in the Sunflowers.

Mr Ihlein said staging events like Sunflower and Song brings farmers and the wider public together, raising awareness of exciting new ecological farming methods being developed within the Queensland sugarcane industry.

Mr Ihlein and Ms Williams are presenting a major exhibition at Artspace Mackay called Sugar vs the Reef? On show are botanical drawings, maps and diagrams, videos and photographs of the crops growing at the Botanic Gardens. The exhibition continues until January 27, 2019.

Event details:

Where: Meadowlands Amphitheatre, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

When: Friday November 23, 2018 from 6pm-9.30pm

Food: Bring your own picnic, and food trucks are available

Tickets: available at eventbrite.

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