Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Flower plough-er at Dookie

A Dookie paddock has been turned into art for this weekend's SheppARTon Festival.

JOHN LEWIS March 7, 2014 6:31am

Ploughing on: A "geoglyph" of a sunflower on Richard Tallis' Dookie property.

Dookie farmer and winegrower Richard Tallis has been at it again — turning a paddock into a giant artwork ready for this weekend’s SheppARTon Festival Dream Voices performance.

This year’s ploughed paddock or ‘‘geoglyph’’ depicts a huge sunflower measuring more than 1km from stem to flower tip.

Last year, Mr Tallis ploughed a giant long-necked turtle totem into the same paddock to celebrate the festival theme of Emerging Voices.

Festival artistic director John Head, in consultation with Mr Tallis and his wife Alice, designed this year’s paddock artwork.

The main body of the flower, including petals, is more than 380m long and 250m wide.

The labyrinth contains more than 5km of trails that took Mr Tallis three days to plough using a GPS device on his tractor.

Mr Head said the flower stem represented the journey taken by a myriad of cultures to the Goulburn Valley.

He explained the thinking behind the sunflower image in a carefully-worded artistic statement.

‘‘The unfurling leaves on the sides represents life’s choices along the road to a better path and the sunflower with its spiralling central path depicts the rich rural industry surrounded in the finger-like petals of an overseeing spirit of the Indigenous custodians of the region.’’

Sunday night’s Dream Voices event involves lighting, projection, music and mobile scultpures, culminating with a choir performance telling the Indigenous story of creation conducted by Indigenous soprano Deborah Cheetham.

The performance will end with the voices of the multicultural Dream Voices choir singing the festival theme song written by Shepparton singer-songwriter Tenielle McKenzie.


The Dream Voices celebration and community performance starts from 5pm at Tallis Wines, 195 Major Plains Rd, Dookie on Sunday. Shepp Transit buses are available and must be pre-booked by emailing with name, contact number and number of seats. Bus tickets are $5 return. The first bus leaves from outside Shepparton Library on Marungi St at 4.30pm. It will return at 9.30pm. More SheppARTon Festival events are listed in tomorrow’s Weekend Life.

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