Deep in the Mallee, next to a giant painted grain silo in the small town of Lascelles is a gallery with a difference. Art made out of corrugated iron is everywhere. Shaped into pretty much anything you could think of. This is also the workshop of Phil Rigg, Australia’s foremost corrugated iron artist.
We are half way through our tour of the exceptional Silo Art Trail. Staying the night before at a hotel in nearby Woomalang, the gallery is to be our first stop. Outside sculptures abound. You can walk around there freely but to see the real thing and the workshop you would need to pay five dollars and step inside. Though that also gives you a self made cup of tea.
Giant Mallee Fowl
Phil Rigg is also the artist behind the giant Mallee Fowl sculptures in the equally tiny habitation of Patchewollock around 30km to the north. We’d seen those pieces the day before and wondered who might have been behind them. That town is also one of the spots on the Silo Art Trail and hosts artwork from Fintan Magee. The massive corrugated iron birds are nearby pecking away at some imaginary seed.
According to Phil, that job took it’s toll. Corrugated iron isn’t the most pliable material and those giant Mallee Fowls are pretty big. It’s something he’s used to though. His home and garden in Lascelles has been all but completely taken over with sculpture and ‘corrigated iron paintings’ of various shapes and sizes.
Poetry and Paintings
Poetry too is in abundance. Phil Rigg, in addition to his skills with corrugated iron, likes to pen a verse. Dotted around the garden are poems. They reveal a unique voice and make for some entertaining reading. All of course are painted onto corrugated iron.
Most of the works are outside. Corrugated iron is perhaps a material more designed for the outdoors after all. Yet some have also been contained within an old Drovers Hut. Inside are contained some of Phil’s more delicate works. Created as if to replicate paintings, they are altogether more intricate. The hut also reveals the work of Phil’s wife Marlene. Boasting a collection of hand knitted toys, we weren’t going to leave without buying at least three of the colourful koalas which she had hand crafted.
The corrugated iron gallery is well worth a visit to anyone visiting the area as part of the Silo Art Trail. From inside the garden you can also get a different perspective on the giant artwork by Rone, the Australian street artist who painted the famous Lascelles silos.
Lascelles is at the heart of the trail. Between Sea Lake and Pathchwollock you will have done a good bit of driving by the time you arrive. Accommodation can also be found here, as well as in nearby Woomalang and indeed over in Sea Lake. The trail holds many treats in addition to the amazing silo murals and the gallery and work of Phil’s corrugated iron art is just one of them.
The corrugated iron gallery of Lascelles was visited on 4 November 2019 as part of a two day trip to see the Silo Art Trail of the Wimmera Mallee. Entrance is five dollars though that includes a cup of tea. The gallery is next door to the painted silo from Rone. You can also see more work from Phil Rigg next to the silo in Patchewollock.