It’s difficult not to look around Hobart and see this city’s colourful commitment to arts and culture. At the moment, pharm the city is a strong shade of red thanks to Dark Mofo, and will remain so until June 22 for the winter art festival’s duration.
Locals and visitors are getting an overdose of culture, of course in David Walsh style. That means one can immerse themselves in an entire room of Aesop scent or jump at the sounds of a flame-throwing organ.
Those who don’t know who David Walsh is – he’s the local who opened Australia’s largest private art collection on the banks of the River Derwent, known as MONA. His festivals are like no other and come winter time, he brings Tasmania out of hibernation and visitors in their droves. Children are pushed in prams and nannas rug up to wander the Hobart streets with the curious throngs.
Why join in the excitement? Because what other time of year can you walk through beams of light that feel like you’re walking through a physical wall? When else can you sit in a Hot House and generate ideas that could shape the future of Hobart’s cultural and educational fabric? And why not hop in a taxi that promises to take you to paradise – or maybe just to the next Dark Mofo world of art-fuelled fascination.
Even the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens have come alive in the darkness, and some boat is making fog horn noises. At the moment you can drive to the tip-top pinnacle of Mount Wellington and still not escape art- the beam rising high above the city is pulsing in synch with those queuing at its base and powering its pulsing lights.
Plans were recently unveiled for a more permanent structure in this exact location (the former Mercury building in the heart of the city) where a 117-meter high tower is being proposed. This too will have lights pulsing in time with the heartbeats of those who reach its top.
Hobart’s cultural pulse is beating with rigour never felt before. For an island with more artists per capita than any other place in the country, this can only mean good things; for the creative folk who call Tasmania home and the culture-hungry visitors. Go forth and into the light of Dark Mofo.