Gaudi Beyond Architecture
Visual art is one of humanity's greatest forms of expression. It's our oldest and often our most misunderstood mode of communication. While its universally accessible and transendends spoken language, great art is born of the human condition and culture. In today's global village with blended cultures often its art that represents the uniquiness of a culture or region. Its art that is the authentic human cultural expression.
The work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi defines the hight of Catalan culture in Spain. His unique and cutting edge bulding designs have come to be definitive of Barcelona. Studying at the Provincial School of Architecture in the late 1800s, the institution was unsure if it was graduating a genius or a madman.
Gaudi combined natural organic forms into the utility of building designs that produced buildings that look as if they grew rather than were built. He was the contravesial designer of his time, with his recalcitrance almost resulting in the local authorities removing the top two floors of the now UNESCO world heritage listed La Pedrera for planning violations.
When true art, form and utility meet the economic benefits can often be immeasurable. The Gaudi trail through Barcelona stands testament to the international hunger for authentic and unique experiences which are often expressed through art. La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia (under construction since 1882) are all major tourist attractions which underpin Barcelona's economy.
Broome is not Barcelona and simple mosaicing will not make a tourist attraction. However there is a unique artistic tradition developing in Broome. It draws on Broome's authentic cultural values as well as values from the natural beauty of the Kimberley. Using art to communicate our unique cultural identity to the world will not drive our economy as it does in Barcelona. However, as the international demand for authentic experiences grows it does have the potential to boost tourism into our town and region.
Originally published as Local Asthetic: Broome Advertiser 4 November 2015.