Mountain to Mouth - Geelong’s extreme arts walk - was a glorious experience on May 6 -7, 2016. This was the second time we created the arts walk as a downhill journey along the 80 kilometre contemporary songline forming from the top of the You Yangs to the mouth of the Barwon River. M~M2016 was extreme, it was bold, it was innovative and it was blessed with two days of perfect autumn weather.
As Artistic Director, M~M2016 was the opportunity to consolidate an amazing 8 years of creative and collaborative artistry with colleagues in the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong and an astounding number of artists throughout the Geelong region and beyond.
Over 90 artists were commissioned for M~M2016.
Over 900 walkers took part in one or more stages, or, for 67 walkers, the whole remarkable walk down from the You Yangs, through bushland, across farmland and then into Geelong’s industrial heartland at nightfall, arriving in the city centre to celebrate with Geelong After Dark, a night of extreme and unexpected arts. At dawn the next day, Mountain to Mouth headed off through the city centre and down to the Barwon River for a breathtaking sunrise, then over the rolling Bellarine hills, along the wild ocean beach to a still and serene river mouth at Barwon Heads for sunset.
Along the way, 12 Walking Circles featured installations from artists commissioned from across the Geelong region. These art installations made powerful, provocative, insightful and beautiful artworks in response to their locations and the communities that care for these places.
Three magnificent ceremonies took place at the beginning, middle and end of the walk - Gathering of the Elders at You Yangs Big Rock; Gathering of the City Geelong Connected Communities at Geelong’s city centre; and Gathering of the Elements at Barwon Heads.
A huge congratulations to all the artists, across all art forms, who are the backbone and the flesh and blood of Mountain to Mouth. And resounding applause to the producers and managers, co-ordinators, production teams, operations team, promotors, designers, ambassadors, volunteers, advisors, supporters, sponsors, funders and to all those in the Arts & Culture Department and all other participating Departments of the City of Greater Geelong. You rock. This is no ordinary city council that can so whole-heartedly back artists to lead the way on civic engagement that genuinely expresses the heart and soul, the identity of its place and its people. Art challenges and invigorates. M~M2016 did this.
My deep thanks to the collaboration with elder Bryon Powell, spokesperson for Wadawurrung traditional owners, and to David Tournier and all who worked with us in the spirit of reconciliation at the Wathaurong Co-operative. You show us the way to stand proud on country, getting to know the land we walk. It is with your permission that we call our walk a contemporary songline. Thank you for your friendship and for sharing your vision, both of the past, present and future. We hold to this vision that Mountain to Mouth can help bring people together to walk this land with respect for each other and for those in whose footprints we follow.
Here is a gallery of highlights from M~M2016.
Thanks to photographers Ed Sloane, Dean Walters, Jarrah Lynch, Jarod Boord and Fern Millen for their outstanding work.