Townsville’s Erect Icon Arousing Creativity

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery's upcoming exhibition features three series of works by local Seppo Hautaniemi - including a series transforming Castle Hill into a phallic symbol. IMAGE: Castle Hill 6 (detail) by Seppo Hautaniemi

Castle Hill is undoubtedly our city’s most recognisable natural landmark – Big. Hard. Phallic??

Local artist Seppo Hautaniemi has seen the (red) light, and is making the rest of us see it too as part of his latest exhibition at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

From Under the Rock features three separate series of Seppo’s work, ranging from the transformation of Castle Hill into phallic symbols created in 2007, through to a series on women’s struggle in society, completed in 2017.

“It’s hard to imagine now, but looking back women have only been able to vote for roughly 100 years – and before that, by law at least, they were very much just seen as property,” Seppo said.

“One of the exhibition pieces, Birth of Modern Venus, is a woman standing on a television dish because modern communications and technology have advanced women’s causes so much – [today] your voice can be heard even if you have a bastard of a husband.

IMAGE: New Life by Seppo Hautaniemi

“I suppose I chose to turn Castle Hill into a penis because it does look a bit like one – it was very easy to do! Also though, I looked back at the old religions where the male and female genitals were worshipped; that was possibly on my mind too when I painted them.”

While the three-part exhibition offered Seppo the chance to convey three very different messages, he said the reason for the varied pieces was boredom.

“Most of the time when I paint or do something, I seem to only make 10 or less of the same style before I get bored or decide to do something different.

“I think art can influence and make people talk about issues. It’s hard to find a cause sometimes, so often I just paint a picture or landscape.

“You find meaning though, so one of the pieces I created here is a number of rocks: trees to me represent life, whereas rocks – even though they eventually may erode – have permanence; they outlast us by thousands of years.”

Catch Seppo Hautaniemi’s From Under the Rock exhibition at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery from 27 Jan – 4 March. For more information, click here.

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