Win­dow into Ruther­glen’s past un­veiled

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

An en­thu­si­as­tic crowd cel­e­brated with Arts Ruther­glen in the spec­tac­u­lar un­veil­ing of its ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive new project at Ruther­glen Wine Ex­pe­ri­ence on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 27.

Now that the Main Street is go­ing through re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion, Arts Ruther­glen thought that some form of vis­ual art could only en­hance the beauty of Ruther­glen even fur­ther and it was time to un­lock the rich and var­ied his­tory of our old shops. Thus, the con­cept of ‘Por­tals into Ruther­glen’ was born.

With the strong sup­port of In­digo Shire, Des­ti­na­tion Ruther­glen and Wine­mak­ers of Ruther­glen, Arts Ruther­glen was able to com­mis­sion Kir­rily An­der­son from ‘Pa­per Trail Stu­dio’ Chiltern to cre­ate an in­stal­la­tion in a large win­dow at Ruther­glen Wine Ex­pe­ri­ence and In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre as a glimpse into Ruther­glen’s com­mer­cial past.

Kir­rily’s art piece, ‘High Times, Hard Times’, is drawn in a con­tem­po­rary, il­lus­tra­tive way and de­picts the his­tory of for­mer gro­cers Aitken and Fuller­ton as they rode the waves of boom and bust.

And what a rich past has been dis­cov­ered. Trawl­ing through diaries, pho­tographs at the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and lis­ten­ing to res­i­dents, Kir­rily dis­cov­ered many fas­ci­nat­ing as­pects about the for­mer gro­cery store, its highly re­spected own­ers and Aitken’s daugh­ters, This­tle and Fern.

Arts Ruther­glen was de­lighted to es­tab­lish con­tact with David Smith (a grand­son of Percy Fuller­ton) who trav­elled from near Dar­win to un­veil the por­tal and es­tab­lish con­tact with fam­ily and friends in Ruther­glen, which he last vis­ited 23 years ago. This made the event ex­tra­or­di­nary.

In keep­ing with the gro­cery theme, many de­tailed im­ages of kitchen, food and house­hold items of the era have been in­cor­po­rated into her strik­ing de­sign.

Also in­cor­po­rated into the art work is a quirky el­e­ment ‘Spot the Wine Bot­tle’ – a guar­an­teed peo­ple please.

‘Por­tals into Ruther­glen’ may be about the past but Arts Ruther­glen is em­brac­ing the fu­ture with QR tech­nol­ogy en­abling vis­i­tors to ob­tain more in­for­ma­tion about the im­ages with the use of their mo­bile phones.

‘High Times, Hard Times’ is the first in our se­ries with three more doors and win­dows planned for 2019.

Through de­pict­ing the past in a con­tem­po­rary way, Arts Ruther­glen is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing the town’s fu­ture through art.

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