Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, exhibition, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on March 19, 2018




Fremantle’s great and long-established Aboriginal art gallery Japingka in High Street in the West End of town is opening a new exhibition this coming Friday March 23 by artists from the Ampilatwatja community.

Welcome to Paradise reveals the traditional country of Alyawarr people of Central Australia. The community of Ampilatwatja is north-east from Alice Springs, and its art centre has operated there since 1999.

The paintings focus on the landscapes of locations that form the ancestral grounds of the people. Many artists depict Arreth, the bush medicine plants traditionally harvested by the people. The reflections of the artists and the on-going ties to the land are seen in the paintings, which are formed by the use of tiny dots that create the features of the country.

Traditional knowledge is viewed through the lens of appropriate standing of the individual, with stories reserved for the initiated in customary law, and stories appropriate for wider exposure to the outside world. The artists are bound by these laws and so can reveal some aspects of their country and customs, while with-holding other aspects as part of the restricted knowledge of their country.

These beautiful landscape images of Alyawarr country are on view at Japingka Gallery from 23 March until 16 May 2018.






I am always committed to making Freo a better place to live, visit and work, so I hopped on the train to Perth this morning to have a look at the new Yagan Square and to see if Fremantle can learn anything from it for the Kings Square development. The answer is yes.

While Yagan Square has some really nice features the overall impression for me was disappointing. There is quite a bit of pretentious look-at-me design and the large space is ostentatious instead of good placemaking.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority-MRA clearly did not learn from the Elizabeth Quay mistakes because there is far too much heat-reflecting hard surface of concrete and pavement and not enough shade. There are also the now typical BYB seats-Burn Your Bum, which will heat up from the sun.

The Market Hall inside is just another food hall but this one is dark and claustrophobic, so nothing to write home about either.

While the Yagan statue artwork is stunning I was surprised to see no story telling about the great warrior and Whadjuk Noongar history. It might be somewhere, but I failed to notice it, which means it is not significant enough.

There are a lot of struggling Balga grass trees, but I did not get a cultural experience about our indigenous history. That saddens me as it is an opportunity lost.

My overall feelings were that the square looks as if it was only partly designed and the rest just filled with concrete and seats, so please City of Fremantle learn from that and make Kings Square a much more special and enjoyable experience!

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, fremantle foundation, history, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on February 20, 2018


The Fremantle Foundation is holding a Vital Conversation about Australia’s shared history – opening hearts, opening minds

It is an intensive one day workshop exploring ‘Australia’s Shared History’.

We learnt about Captain Cook, Stirling and Fremantle and the history of British colonisation but most of us know very little about Australia’s history from the Indigenous perspective.

With discussions around Australia Day increasing and the success of One Day in Fremantle, this Vital Conversation offers the chance to take the next step in your personal understanding.

This one day intensive brings knowledge and deep insights into the shared history of Australians. It looks through the eyes of the First Australians and with this Indigenous perspective sheds light on a past we all share.

Specifically it will increase effective and respectful professional and personal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by:

  • gaining knowledge of our shared history from an Indigenous perspective
  • increasing awareness of the impacts which continue to affect Aboriginal Australians today
  • learning to be comfortable and confident in the third space

It is on at 8.30AM – 4.30PM, Tuesday 27th February in the Big Hall in the Old Boys School, 92 Adelaide St. Fremantle, just opposite the Basilica.

Cost: $80 per person

Lunch and refreshments are provided.

The day is facilitated by Jenny Hunter and Kelly Terry, with guest Aboriginal presenters including respected Aboriginal elder Dr Noel Nannup.


Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on February 3, 2018



I am a big fan of the Fremantle Aboriginal art gallery Japingka in High Street and its owners Ian and David and have directed dozens of overseas and interstate visitors to the gallery, but these guys are really stretching the friendship and challenge my patience with their outrageously bad and long media releases. It is annoying because it means I have to take more time than I want to make something succinct and coherent out of what they send me.

This time their media release was a whopping 874 words, the equivalent of a full page in the Herald, accompanied by eleven photos! and yes, they always send the text in colour.

So here is the very shortened version:

The first art exhibition of 2018 at Japingka Gallery is exploring the use of the blue palette in Indigenous fine art. Blue features the handful of artists such as Kudditji Kngwarreye and Judy Watson Napangardi, and emerging artists Faye Nungala Hudson, as well as established artists Rosella Namok, Fiona Omeenyo and Gloria Petyarre, who have confidently embraced the avenues that this striking colour provides.

 In gallery 2 Ngarrindjeri Artist Amanda Conway-Jones from Victor Harbour in South Australia displays her talent in an exhibition of aerial views of her coastal country hometown and the surrounding ocean.

Exhibitions open 6.30pm Friday 9th February, and run daily until 14th March, 2018.

Japingka Gallery is at 47 High Street in Fremantle’s gorgeous West End.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 28, 2018



KAYA! The ONE DAY Noongar Smoking Ceremony at Bathers Beach in Fremantle/Walyalup this morning at 7 am attracted a lot of Wadjelas, keen to connect with our Aboriginal friends.

The symbolism of these events often overwhelms me and I can’t keep the tears out of my eyes, but at least I can blame the smoke for it and don’t have to admit I am just a softy. ;>)

The event was scaled down from last year’s magnificent event with a lot fewer Aborigines participating, and that was a little disappointing, but I sincerely hope that the smoking ceremony will become an annual tradition in Freo.

From 2-8pm the ONE DAY concert and activities are on at the Esplanade, so make sure to join in and bring all your friends and family.

The Fremantle community can be very proud today about our inclusiveness!

Roel Loopers


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Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 20, 2018


Channel 9 TV had a bit of a beat-up story yesterday about Fremantle not having Australia Day fireworks this year because the local business group BID did not want to finance them.

Federal Liberal MP Ben Morton claimed that this was due to activists abusing small businesses. It’s the first thing I have heard about this and was not reported in the local media, so where does Morton’s claim come from?

Fact is that the Business Improvement District-BID did a survey among their 400 members and there was no clear support to continue with financing the fireworks.

As I pointed out last year the fireworks in Fremantle were never a great trading day for the broader business community because all shops had closed well before the masses arrived, and so had many cafes.

Australia Day fireworks were an excellent trading day for Fishing Boat Harbour operators, but did not do much for the rest of the CBD traders, as most people arrived late and left the city straight after the fireworks were over.

It’s a done deal for the time being, so let’s move on. Those who want big Australia Day celebrations and fireworks can enjoy them in Perth, and Freo has it’s ONE DAY celebrations on January 28.

A survey this week showed that most Australians don’t care about the date or even know why January 26 is supposedly significant.

Let’s be happy that we live in such a good country and great city!


Roel Loopers

ONE DAY poster


Posted in art, arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2017


The desire of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge to extend the decision period on the proposed tavern at J Shed by Sunset Events comes in my opinion far too late. What could possibly be achieved in 2-3 months of talking that could not have been achieved in the last four years?

Fremantle Council did have many opportunities to listen to the community but instead created a divide that has now become too polarised to be resolved and end in a good outcome for the proponents and opponents.

Sunset Events has in desperation asked Freo Massive readers what they believe is acceptable for the J Shed studio at Bathers Beach, as director David Chitty also did at the Council meeting on Wednesday. The community already told you that, David, so why engage social media when there has been community consultation, meetings, information sessions, a special electors meeting, written and verbal submissions, etc?

The dilemma is that the two sides are too far apart to find a compromise, and there appears to be a bit of stubbornness on both sides as well. The stuff them attitude is not going to help anyone!

Would Sunset Events be happy to just run a day-time cafe and small bar with a nice deck to watch Bathers Bay and the sunset? I doubt it, as they want big numbers of patrons to make their investment worthwhile, and that is fair enough from a business perspective.

The J Shed artists appear to not want anything but another art studio in that location, so they will probably also object to a small bar at the No 1 studio.

Community groups might well be happy with a 150-patron small bar there, as I would be, but I don’t think Sunset Events will want to scale down its proposal that far.

Fact is that the City of Fremantle should not have wandered off so far from the initial Expression of Interest and CoF should not have signed a 21-year lease for a tavern and outdoor music venue.

Councillors and the administration have to accept all the blame for this fiasco and they now will have to do their utmost best to get Sunset Events to relinquish the lease and start from scratch.

It is however also important for the J Shed artists to show more willingness to compromise as they should not dictate who their next door businesses can be. A small bar and cafe is totally acceptable for the venue and would become a good attraction for tourists and local residents.

The A Class reserve is very suitable to support the artists and create a sculpture park, with the addition of some shade structures and more seating. That would also support a new cafe/bar at J Shed. And a small playground for the kids would also be a nice addition for the area.

The Bathers Beach Art Precinct should go back to the drawing board as it is not working. The Pilot’s Cottages at Captain’s Lane are closed too many days of the week and do very little to help activate the area. The only exemptions up there are the Glen Cowans photo gallery and the very popular Roundhouse which attract a lot of visitors, and so did the High Tide biennale by the way.

I still wonder if the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre would not have been far more successful at the J Shed No 1 unit and complement the existing art businesses there better.

Fremantle Council need to acknowledge they got it wrong as far as the activation of Arthur Head is concerned and should start all over again with an open mind. This might well be the opportune time to engage an outside consultant to get some new and fresh ideas.

In the meantime the Roundhouse volunteer guides want to put new displays inside the popular tourist attraction, and they need big money to do that. Time for Fremantle Council to engage with them and collaborate and also to give them some assistance!


Roel Loopers




Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on December 6, 2017


NDA Aboriginal


It was full house at Fremantle Notre Dame University’s Manjaree Place this morning for the unveiling of the major 5.5 x 2.2 metre  Manjaree Mia Kaart Aboriginal painting.

The work was created by WA Aboriginal artist Neta Knapp with help from indigenous NDA students, who each tell their own story on the big mural.

Fifty indigenous students are enrolled at Notre Dame’s Fremantle campus.

Manjaree Place was opened earlier this year to provide a place for reflection and cultural awareness at NDA. It is a beautiful place for quiet meditation in between studies.


Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017


FINALLY!!!!  Fremantle Council has committed $30,000 towards a feasibility study for an Indigenous Cultural Centre at Victoria Quay.

The study will include consultation with the local Aboriginal community and investigate issues including location and funding opportunities.

The concept for the centre includes galleries and exhibition spaces, theatres for lectures and performances, office space for local Aboriginal tourism and cultural businesses, and outdoor areas connected to the Swan River.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said  “If traditional owners support the concept, the addition of an indigenous cultural centre near an upgraded cruise ship terminal would make Victoria Quay a substantial tourism destination.”

Other ideas the study will explore include partnering with local universities to create a world class centre for indigenous studies that will attract international conferences and events.

The centre could also host touring exhibitions from other parts of Australia and the world.

The study is expected to commence later this year and be completed early next year.

This is in my opinion a well-overdue process as our local Aboriginal people, and those calling for more  tangible reconciliation and less tokenism, have been advocating for an Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle for very many years.

Well done Fremantle Council for finally allocating money for the significant process!

Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, fremantle arts centre, Uncategorized by freoview on November 26, 2017



The IN CAHOOTS exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre is a wonderful show of Aboriginal art and should not be missed.

The show by six remote Aboriginal art centres takes over the entire FAC galleries and is a collaboration across Country.

Leading artist were invited to communities as artists in residence, resulting in the very creative, intriguing and fun exhibition.

There are paintings, sculptures, photographs,installations, mirrors, recycled car doors, video, figures, etc.

The participating art centres are Mangkaja Arts from Fitzroy Crossing, Baluk Arts, Victoria, Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre, Northern Territory, Martumili, WA and Papulankutja, WA.

Roel Loopers


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