Van Gogh’s Sunflower Painting in Emerald, Central Queensland

cc_03The biggest Van Gogh sunflower painting in the world is found in Morton Park, Emerald, Central Queensland, Australia. This superstructure is 25 meters high, and the painting itself measures 7 x 10 meters, sitting on a 17,000 kilogram steel easel.

The huge sunflower painting is part of a concept by artist Cameron Cross who wants to erect a total of seven gigantic Sunflower Sculptures in also seven different countries. Cross want to make seven reproductions of Van Gogh’s seven different Sunflower paintings. The Sunflower Painting in Emerald was completed on November 8, 1999, and it celebrates the role of Australia’s Central Highland, and Emerald in particular, as a major sunflower producer.

Canadian artist Cameron Cross came to the idea to erect seven Sunflower sculptures and as far as I know there were three of these gigantic reproductions realized over the years, So far Cross’ project has unveiled three sites, the first in Altona, Canada (1998), the second in Emerald, Australia (1999), and the third in Goodland, Kansas, U.S. (2001).

Future big reproductions are planned in Japan and South Africa. I don’t know how far Cross has gotten with realizing his plans, and if you know, we would appreciate if you would inform us.

In Emerald, a very interesting walk takes you to the immense painting. It is a mosaic pathway that includes 21 tiled designs depicting one century of Emerald’s history. Next door is the Emerald ‘straw bale’ Visitor Information Center where, besides all sorts of details on the impressive painting and the Big Easel, lots of information on Emerald and the surrounding Central Highlands is available as well as free maps and brochures.

The gigantic Van Gogh Sunflower reproduction is located in Morton Park in Emerald, at the western end of Clermont Street (also referred to as the Capricorn Highway). The painting was created by Cameron Cross from Winnipeg, Canada) and it is part of his so-called ‘Big Easel Project’ that is aiming to reproduce all of Van Gogh’s seven sunflowers paintings on giant easels at seven different locations around the world.
The landmark site has a plaque that reads: ‘The Giant Van Gogh Sunflower Painting in Emerald – The world’s largest painting on an easel’ which was proudly sponsored by: and here are 34 persons and businesses listed. The overall sponsor of the interesting site is the Emerald Shire Council.

The town of Emerald is located some 650 kilometers from the capital Brisbane. Well, we all know that Australians are very familiar with big items and happenings, and it could as well be argued that big things have become part of their culture. The Big Rocking Horse, the Big Banana, the Big Prawn, the Big Pineapple, the Big Marino, and we could go on and on.

The majority of these big things, though, are found at more or less logical locations, The big banana, for example, is found right in the center of Australia’s banana farming land, just outside Coffs Harbour, and the big Marino is situated in Goulburn, NSW. in the center of the country’s sheep farming land. So the giant sunflower painting sits at the heart of Australia’s sunflower industry in Central Queensland.

In the years 1888 and 1889, Van Gogh painted a total of seven different but pretty similar Sunflower paintings, and Canadian artist Cameron Cross created the concept for this impressive project that includes the reproduction of all seven Van Gogh’s Sunflower Paintings at seven different locations throughout the world. These seven large easels are reflecting the artist’s interest in reproduction and appropriation in contemporary art.

Cameron’s first Big Easel was put up in the city of Altona in Canada, and Emerald in Australia is actually Altona’s sister city. Herein lies the reason for Cameron Cross to choose Emerald as a logical fit to erect the second sunflower easel. Emerald in Queensland and Altona (just south of Winnipeg) are both known for sunflower production.