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The story of Sunflowers

Emerald’s Big Easel is arguably the most photographed spot in the Central Queensland Highlands but it also generates the most questions from visitors… namely ‘what’s its story?’.

Well, we’re glad you asked!

The monumental installation was created by Canadian artist Cameron Cross and is part of the Vincent van Gogh Project. The project aims to install big easel reproductions of van Gogh’s seven Sunflowers paintings (1888-1889) at sites which either have a connection to sunflower agriculture or an affiliation with the painter.

Emerald’s painting, located at Morton Park on the Capricorn Highway, celebrates the region’s reputation as a major sunflower producer in the past and was completed in November 1999.

There are also easels in Goodland, Kansas, US and Emerald’s sister city, Altona, Canada.

Emerald’s super structure stands 25 metres high and took 2.5 months to complete. The canvas was constructed of 24 sheets of plywood, coated with fibreglass and sealed with a gel coat. It measures 7 metres wide and 10 metres high. More than 50 litres of high-performance paint was required to complete the giant work of art, which has a weight of approximately 4.5 tonnes. A further 13.6 tonnes of steel was used in the construction of the easel.

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