The Hart’s Mill [Photographic] Project
Where to begin... Do I start with our long term passion for this magnificent set of buildings and the revered place they have within this community? Or with a group of friends getting together to set up the Hart’s Mill Project, build a website and organise guerilla dinners here at the Mills as a way to establish a sense of community ownership of the buildings at a time when a developer had been handed the Mill complex to convert into luxury apartments. That was 2010.
Or do I start with the day that the Premier came down to the Port in 2012 and announced that
the on-the-nose developer was to be paid out, and a new more inclusive approach, one involving real community consultation, was to be initiated. Most of us sat somewhere between being cautiously optimistic and highly skeptical.
Not long after the Premier’s visit I was approached by John Hanlon who had just taken on the
role of heading up this new community consultation, and he asked me to show him around the Port. His actual words were, “You tell me what I should see and I’ll bring the keys”. So the following weekend, a curious group of government officials, accompanied by a small group of activist
locals, cracked open the gates to Hart’s Mill, the first time in decades that anyone had been allowed into the complex.
Suddenly access to the Mill buildings was possible and a number of approved group visits were made. Permission was granted for me to take a group of local photographic and illustrative artists in to record the previously off-limit interiors, so that there would be an opportunity some day for the wider community to see inside the Mills.
Finally that day has come around. The work here is part of the product of two three-hour visits in June and August of 2012. When I approached Renewal SA recently for permission to use the Packing Shed for our exhibition GRIT, I suggested that work from these earlier visits should also be included. Four of the seven artists involved in this project are represented here: Nici Cumpston, Dani McLean, Craigh Marsden and I. The other three artists who weren’t able to participate this time are Ed James, Johnnie Dady and Annalise Rees.
As well as our photographic work, there is a small portion of the work undertaken by Mulloway Studio who have played an important and invaluable part in recording the cultural heritage
of the Mills. At some point we would like for all of the artists’ work to be shown more fully, but
in the meantime, here’s a peek inside the mostly unseen Adelaide Milling Co building.
Curator of GRIT
This part of the GRIT exhibition includes images made by a small group of artists in 2012 from two visits they made to the Adelaide Milling Company building, the five-storey red brick building which sits alongside the older Hart’s Mill, constructed from sandstone.
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