An artist-friend of mine, that I painted with every Thursday, told me about him when she heard that we were thinking about emigrating to Australia.
He was born in South America, but moved to Belgium at the age of 15. That's where she got to know him. Later, he emigrated to Australia with his family to create a sculpture garden that he wanted to run as a permanent attraction.
They moved to Marysville, a small village in Victoria, on a property with a large section of rainforest.
After 5 months of hard work, he opened his art and sculpture garden to the public. On the property was also a gallery that housed over 200 of his artworks brought over from Europe, that included oil paintings, sketches and smaller sculptures.
But on the 7th of February 2009, a devastating bushfire raged through the region, destroying everything in its path and killing a total of 173 people. 90% of the buildings in the village were destroyed and 45 people died in that town alone. Bruno was extremely lucky to survive with his family.
The terracotta forms of his sculptures resisted the heat of the fire almost completely, but falling branches and tumbling trees had reduced many of the life-sized artworks to rubble and dust.
Bruno chose to stay in Marysville and start the gigantic task of rebuilding his home and restoring the gardens.
It will be many years though before the forest resembles the lush wonderland that it used to be.
I can't even begin to express the respect I feel for someone with his courage. Looking at the pictures on his website, seeing all the devastation and all the work that had to be done, it blows my mind.
His art is amazing, it just fits so well within the natural setting.
It is one of my biggest wishes to one day visit these beautiful gardens. It must be such a joy wandering around there, encountering sculptures everywhere.
If you want to see more of this artist, please visit his website.
Here's a Youtube-video where you can see the devastation the fire caused, and how the garden was rebuilt. It's heartwarming to see the support he got from friends and neighbours, and it's simply amazing how it looks again.
Hope you likd today's inspiring artist! Thanks so much for visiting, I'll be back on Friday!