The spectacular red rock and awe-inspiring setting of Uluru – also known as Ayers Rock – has been a source of fascination and spiritual importance for as long as humans have roamed the earth. The striking sandstone rock in central Australia is famous too for appearing to change colour at dawn and sunset. Fitting then that internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro has created a light installation around the landmark that plays with light and colour to dazzling effect.
Field of Light consists of over 50,000 frosted glass bulbs mounted in slender stems like flowers which appear to ‘bloom’ as night falls. Visitors can experience the installation via pre-booked tours or more exclusive events including luxurious outdoor dining. British-born Munro is the perfect artist to create such a work. His career has taken him across the globe many times, with an early stay in Australia in 1984 perhaps providing the first sparks of the idea.
Although Munro trained in Fine Art at Bristol Polytechnic, much of his early career was in creating neon signs and window display products, but after selling his business in 1991 he set off once more for Australia, this time with sketchbook in hand and an idea to create work about the connectedness of nature. While camping at Uluru he says he conceived of an artwork “that would bloom at night like dormant desert seeds responding to rain.”
Back in the UK, Munro started a tile business before joining Kevin McCloud’s design studio while working on light-based sculptural installations of his own, including the Snowball chandelier for Babington House in Somerset. Versions of the current Field of Light piece have appeared in locations including Cornwalls’ Eden Project and Edinburgh city centre, with the first prototype run being installed in Munro’s own garden, part of the 16th century Long Knoll manor house owned by the artist.
In 2016 the artist’s ambitions have finally come full circle, being installed in the flat lands surrounding Uluru earlier this year, in the space where the work was first conceived some 25 years ago. Field Of Light will remain in situ at Uluru until March 2017.