Artistic take on lane's past

ARTISTS, musicians and other creative people will combine to bring one of Warrnambool’s unnamed laneways to life on Saturday.

Entitled ‘Viva New Portugal’, the performance art project is centred around an alternative history of the city.

Team leader Geoff Rollinson said the four-hour festival would look at the possible Portuguese discovery of Australia in a “playful, artistic, entertaining and thought-provoking way”. 

He said the project would also “bring life into a currently drab and seldom-visited” central business district laneway.

“Some of the artistic output from the project will remain permanently, providing a new feature and visitor attraction for downtown Warrnambool,” Mr Rollinson said.

A small team of artists will use a combination of performance, song, dance, painting, digital recording and sculpture for Viva New Portugal, presenting the evidence for Portuguese discovery. This ranges from 16th century maps, to would-be kangaroos, linguistics and wrecked ships. 

“Visitors to the laneway will be asked to ‘climb aboard’ a sculptural walking boat, which will be led by a flamboyant figure-head character claiming to be the Spirit of the Mahogany Ship, on a journey through a completely transformed laneway,” he said.

“A number of interpretations are planned as part of the collective efforts of the creative team and include a kangaroo-sized interpretation of the letter D painted on the lane wall, a walking ship based on the legend of the Mahogany ship and wall murals.”

He said the project team hoped to build on the curiosity that already existed through the legend of the Mahogany Ship, the presence of the Portuguese Padrao at Cannon Hill and the biennial Portuguese Festival in Warrnambool.

Funding support has come from the F Project and the Regional Arts Fund while the entire Hidden Laneways Festival is receiving funding and in-kind support from Warrnambool City Council, Warrnambool Art Gallery, RMIT and the state government.

Saturday’s event will run from 11am to 3pm off Timor Street.

rhoulihan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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