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Lady of the White Night

White Night exhibitor Lou Callow with some of her creations that include Miss Rural Victoria. Photo – Helen Tatchell
White Night exhibitor Lou Callow with some of her creations that include Miss Rural Victoria. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Jessica Howard

Two Moorabool artists are among the impressive bill of talents at this year’s White Night in Ballarat.

Ballan’s Lou Callow and Marlene Gilson from Gordon will feature at the all-night creative celebration, to be held this Saturday March 17.

An LED animation of the Bunjil, inspired by the artwork of Indigenous Auntie and elder Marlene, will be a major highlight of the regional program, which will transform the main street of Ballarat through installations, lighting, exhibitions and interactive performances.

Lou Callow, a founding member of Wombats Regional Arts Network, will feature her installation titled Aussie Melting Pot in the prominent Myer Shop windows from 7pm.

The visual art installation is a mixture of quirky icons, symbols and rituals designed to evoke humour, curiosity and stimuli for remembering who we are and what it means to be Australian.

“Myer is such an iconic department store and was made inclusive to rural Victoria; it is very special to me to be able to display my art in these windows,” Ms Callow said.

At a deeper level, Ms Callow said she hopes to use her installation to raise awareness and challenge the observers’ commitment to Mother Earth, their country and respect for all living things.

“This mannequin was very emotional to work on and shows how some animals have suffered, but this beautiful woman is drawing in consumption and in my opinion, my mannequins reflect everything connected.”

Ms Callow moved to Ballan in the mid-1990s and has participated in and worked with the community on a number of art projects, including Ballan’s recent winter community arts celebration, Black Nite Black Lite.

“This exhibition is a big deal for me as it helps to expose and promote Ballan, Wombats Regional Art Network and our own Black Nite event which is where this idea came from.”

Ballarat’s White Night is a free event that will run from 7pm to 2am.

The 2018 program will see the event double in size after it was extended to also include the Armstrong Street precinct.

Last year’s inaugural event saw more than 40,000 people fill the streets and adjoining laneways of Sturt and Lydiard.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Samantha McIntosh said a staggering 60 per cent of the works were dedicated to artists and performers who hold a strong connection to Ballarat and surrounds.

“It’s events such as White Night that continue to inspire a strong sense of pride among our community,” she said.