Lately I feel parts of my life are slowly being erased. This week news that the stack, my stack, is coming down. It may be an unsightly industrial world blot to a lot of people but it feels part of my history. I have used it as a personal symbol within my artwork as a reference to my family. The picture above shows the stack, a marker, to the left and the beach to the right where I scattered my parents ashes together. A pointer in the landscape.
The Port Kembla stack pins the coast firmly in place. It is over 200 metres tall. My mother and I both attend the school directly underneath. As a child at lunchtime in the playground we would dare each other to throw our heads back far enough to look to the top and make it look as though it was swaying side to side and we would collapse on the ground, dizzy.
My mum would glimpse it rising in the distance coming from the north or south and say “There’s the stack. We’re nearly home.”
A few years back my boat shed home was de-bricked and now the green flatness I pass most days still brings back memories. I wonder after the stack is gone on whether there will be a ghostly sentinel that replaces its existence for me. Like the twin towers when you catch a glimpse of old footage and it catches your breath, the sky will seem empty in that place.
I have watched a show recently called Vanishing Views where architect Ptolemy Dean sketches landmarks that are disappearing. He had sketched the Sheffield Cooling Towers prior to demolition. This week I intend to capture it much as possible. The event has made me consider views of the imposing chimney and how I would find the right vantage point to paint or sketch from. Unfortunately the view from the playground is also prohibited as recently the school too has been partly demolished.
The boat shed, the school and the stack will all be physically removed like an erased De Kooning drawing.