Bruce Munro's Field of Light installation at Uluru has attracted more than 450,000 visitors to the red centre since its 2016 opening. Things get a bit quiet, tourism-wise, during Darwin's wet season, its "tropical summer", so why not see if the British installation artist can shine some light on the Northern Territory capital?
"Maybe there's a bit of an Aussie blockage about the tropics and the wet, but I tell you what, back in Europe, people love that sort of thing. They go to the West Indies, go to Bali, go to all these places and pay big bucks to go and have a rain storm," Munro said at the recent launch of his Tropical Light exhibition in Darwin.
The installation includes eight large-scale illuminated sculptures by Munro and his studio over a 2.5 kilometre art trail, with works by five local NT artists positioned along the way. Bruce Munro says his separate works are "visual anecdotes of travel".
"When I travel to places, I tend to be more sensitive to the environment around me, I pick up on things. The Northern Territory to me has been an incredibly fertile place, very inspiring."
The "Gathering of the Clans" sculpture, for example, is a mob of Hills Hoists with handmade ultraviolet plastic clothes pegs and the screeching calls and chatter of cockatoos as a background sound. "Telegraph Rose" is a tribute to the Territory, an installation of 700 fishing rods laid out in the form of a Sturt Desert Rose, the NT floral emblem; its soundtrack is a Morse Code message.
"You have to have a connection with what you are doing and I really felt immediately, that this isn't a sterile city, this has got real character... It's also got a bit of an edge to it... you're flying across lots of empty space and then suddenly you're flying across the tropical jungle and at the top of it there's this little jewel of a city.
Munro describes connections as the purpose of his art. "The most important thing [about the exhibition] is that it puts a smile on peoples' faces and they talk to each other, have a good yarn. Isn't that all we need?"
Bruce Munro: Tropical Light is a free outdoor art exhibition running until April 30; the sculptures are illuminated from 7pm to 10:30pm every night. See tropicallight.com.au
Jim Darby was a guest of Tourism NT and Virgin Australia.