Canadian artist and educator Cameron Cross was working in Altona, Canada in the late 1990s when he had a vision: to replicate Vincent Van Gogh’s seven Sunflowers paintings on a massive scale in different parts of the world. Cross selected seven sites for his Big Easel Project, based on either their sunflower agriculture or connection to the Dutch artist. So far, three of the paintings in the series have been realized.
Cross began right there in Altona, Sunflower Capital of Canada, in 1998. His second installation was in Emerald, Australia, a rural town in the Central Highlands Region of Queensland known for sapphire mining and sunflower production. That was followed in 2001 by another sunny masterpiece in the United States, located in Goodland, Kansas. (Appropriately, Kansas is nicknamed the Sunflower State.)
The Emerald artwork unveiled in 1999 claims to be the largest painting in the Southern Hemisphere. The enormous “canvas” is constructed of 24 sheets of plywood, laminated to create a seven-meter by 10-meter surface, coated with fiberglass, and decorated with approximately 50 liters of paint. The “easel” contains 13.6 tons of steel and stands 25 meters high.
The painting in Emerald is a replica of Van Gogh’s fourth Sunflowers, which he created in 1888 and is now housed in the National Gallery in London. The landmark is a popular roadside attraction for visitors to Emerald and its surrounding sunflower fields.
Know Before You Go
Free parking is available along with barbeque, picnic area and public bathrooms.