“It’ll open your eyes when it goes through Orange.”
The characters of Manildra are about to become stars, painted on the sides of rail wagons that will travel around the state and feature in a new ABC TV show.
Mill worker Ron “Fox” Bennett is one of seven locals chosen by artist Guido Van Helten for his work which will be appear in the TV show “The Wanderers.”
Show producer Drew MacDonald said six artists selected an area to focus on local people and local history.
The others were in Vanuatu, Tasmania, the Tiwi Islands, Queensland and the inner city suburb of Surry Hills.
Van Helten, who specialises in large industrial works including painting the side of grain silos, chose Manildra for his episode of the show that will appear on ABC iview next year.
“He wanted to create a moving art installation,” Mr McDonald said.
“It encompasses how a small town is made up. That is what Guido is fascinated by,” he said.
“You will learn about the history of Manildra and the people of Manildra. There’s the local farmer, a local artists, a mill worker, the guy who drives the train and the lady who set up the cinema house.”
Bennett said Van Helten photographed him eyes open and closed and he was surprised to find which one Van Helten had used.
“I’m the one with my eyes shut,” he said.
“I asked Guido why and he said it breaks it up as he had other pictures with people’s eyes open.
“I’ve already been tormented by it, people asking ‘why are your eyes shut?”
But Bennett said he was pleased with the work.
“It’s unbelievable mate. It’s me to a tee. It’ll open your eyes when it goes through Orange.
“I just hope the young louts in Sydney don’t graffiti the truck. He’s done such a great job.”
Van Helten said he chose Manildra as an industrial and regional site.
“When I was approached to do a documentary on my work, I loved the idea of bringing it to a regional town and painting freight carriages instead of a building. I thought this would be quite interesting,” he said.
“The people on the freight train it’s really about coming to the town of Manildra and spending a few days here.”
“It’s not really about anyone too special, it’s about everyday people. People that represent different areas and the community here,” Van Helten said.