Field of Light: Avenue of Honour image

8 December 2017

An immersive art installation by Bruce Munro will illuminate the Avenue of Honour at Mt Clarence next year, paying homage to the Anzacs with 13,000 shining spheres marking the last sight of home for 41,000 troops who departed from Albany for the Great War.

The internationally renowned UK artist’s ephemeral landscape installation will reference the national flowers of Australia and New Zealand; honouring 100 years since the First World War’s end and celebrating Albany’s unique biodiversity with thousands of lights shining in the whites, yellows and golds of the wattle and the kowhai.

Highlighting the region’s unique sense of place and identity in sophisticated, contemporary ways, Field of Light: Avenue of Honour is expected to attract more than 28,500 people including 8,500 visitors from outside the Great Southern region.

The installation was commissioned by independent, non-profit cultural organisation FORM with the City of Albany and the support of the Australian Government through a Building Better Regions grant and the State Government through Tourism Western Australia and Lotterywest. It will coincide with peak wildflower season and the conclusion of the Anzac Centenary commemorations, exhibiting from October 2018 through to Anzac Day in April 2019.

The installation’s thousands of glass spheres on slender stems will be ‘planted’ along the avenue at Albany Heritage Park and the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial by scores of local volunteers, illuminating the tree-lined path with an artwork blooming at night like wildflowers after rain. Incorporating Munro’s motif use of light on an environmental scale to create an emotional response for the viewer, Field of Light: Avenue of Honour will symbolise wild beauty, sacrifice, courage and honour. 

“It is too easy for our generation to forget the sacrifices that were made [and] it is difficult to attribute the freedoms that we take for granted today to a War that ended one hundred years ago,” Bruce Munro said. “To be given an opportunity to create a work in remembrance of the Anzacs is a wonderful honour and a privilege. Albany would have been the last sight of home for many and this is a poignant thought.” 

Each iteration  of the Field of Light is an organic piece that over time has stretched across fields, along city parks and through forested land, in urban squares, on building roofs and over rocky outcrops. It has inspired, led to love, healed sadness and has made people think. Munro’s most recent commission, Field of Light at Uluru, attracted more than 120,000 people in 12 months and was extended for a further year until March 2018. 

FORM’s Executive Director Lynda Dorrington said the Albany  installation would translate the notion of memorial into an ephemeral and emotional encounter, inviting viewers to engage with the region’s landscape, environment and history through an immersive experience.

“This artwork will become a symbolic celebration of freedom and new life, emphasising beauty in diversity, growth and connection to one another,” Ms Dorrington said.

“Field of Light: Avenue of Honour will draw locals and tourists to see Albany and Western Australia quite literally, in a different light.”

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Image: Field of Light, Bruce Munro, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Art Museum Nashville Tennessee. Photograph by Mark Pickthall. Courtesy Bruce Munro Studio.