Don’t forget to come to the goodbye party for MANY 6160 in the former Myer building at Fremantle’s Kings Square from 5-9 pm today.
Family entertainment, live music, food vans and more, and lots of things to buy.
It is often difficult to write critical articles on my blog because Fremantle is a small community and more like a family to me and a place where I have a lot of friends.
While I don’t mind to stir the pot a bit now and then I don’t enjoy negativity, but sometimes there is no other way and what is happening at the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is such a case.
The thought bubble of making one of our state’s most significant historic precincts into an arts precinct to activate it was flawed from the start and the officers somehow have to implement what is not practical and never was a good idea in the first place.
Small art businesses have failed at Captain’s Lane while the very professional Glen Cowans photography gallery bravely soldiers on offering outstanding photo art. The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre has also failed and the art that has been on offer in the other cottages was mediocre, to say it kindly.
Now the next thought bubble has arrived and the No 9 cottage at Captain’s Lane will be included in the City’s Studios Program as low-cost non-commercial work spaces.
The artists will not be required to open their doors to the public and only need to have an open door event every six months.
This will do absolutely nothing to help activate the area and is worse than it was when the Fremantle Pilots, Fremantle Society and Crookes family occupied the three cottages.
The Society held community events on the lawn and inside the cottage, the pilots were there 24/7 and so were the lovely family where the kids brought friends from Lance Holt School, and engaged with visitors to Arthur’s Head.
What the City of Fremantle has created is a night-time ghost town that has attracted homeless people who defecate in the backyards, and during the day and weekends it is often only the Glen Cowans Gallery that is open to the public.
In the meantime the Roundhouse that receives 130,000 visitors a year is struggling to get support from the City and we have now been waiting for well over a year to get power into the Roundhouse so we can start applying for funds for stunning new interactive displays. We are activating the historic area, but no one at Fremantle Council gives a rat’s arse about that, because it is more important to continue with the flawed art precinct concept.
Down at J Shed the artists have been denied access to the No 1 studio to use it as exhibition space during the Sculpture@Bathers show , but I hear the City will announce today who is moving in till July, when Sunset Events is supposed to start some kind of business there.
And let me make this very clear! I do not blame the officers who really try very hard, but it is the ineptness and piecemeal governance of the area by Fremantle Council that really pisses me off!
There are already many interesting sculptures at Bathers Beach where the installation of the 2017 Sculpture@Bathers show is under construction.
The exhibition that showcases 80 WA sculptors will open this weekend and will be on Fremantle’s inner city beach for two weeks.
Bruce Abbott from REPLANTS has planted some trees in the beach sand, so that is something very different
Many of the works will be lit up at night, as is the cliff face at Arthur Head, so a perfect excuse to go and watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, see some great local art and eat fish&chips.
Installation of the artworks for the Sculpture@Bathers show on Fremantle’s Bathers Beach started this morning.
Eighty Western Australian sculptors will showcase their art from Saturday for two weeks all around the beach, on the boardwalk and inside Kidogo Arthouse.
Can You See My Mind is a powerful art exhibition about mental health upstairs at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery in Henry Street, Fremantle.
The works by photographer Melanie English and artist Megan Henry have been created from mental health questionnaires completed by people who suffered or are still suffering a mental health condition.
Mental health issues affect one in five Australians every year so it is not something we should be ignorant or judgmental about.
We have come a long way and no longer call people who have mental health problems lunatics or crazy, but there is often still a stigma attached to it and a presumption that the issues are alcohol or drug related, hence many people try to fight depression in isolation.
Shame, fear, loneliness, anxiety and feeling so deeply tired of life, in what one perceives to be absolute isolation and abandoned by society and friends, is a very traumatic experience that sadly often ends in suicide.
It is important that we are constantly aware that even close friends might not share their mental health issues with us and that asking and being observant is very important.
This exhibition helps us understand just a little bit better how and what people with mental health poblems go through.
Also at the Moores at ground level is a sculpture and painting show by Jon Denaro.
My brand new and delightful friend Sian made me aware this morning that the Shimmer artwork by Freo artist Susan Flavell had been installed outside the Esplanade Hotel, so here a photo.
The work was first shown at the 2015 Sculpture @Bathers show and was sold to a mining millionaire who sent it to Queensland where two bronze casts were made of the orginal work.
Now one of these bronzes is traveling around the Perth metro area to promote the S&B 2017 show which starts next Friday at Bathers Beach.
Bureaucracy-like car salesmen, lawyers, politicians, Dutchmen, journalists, and Roel Loopers, to name just a few-has a bad reputation.
I know one should never generalise so let me declare that I have often dealt with excellent public servants at the City of Fremantle and all levels of government.
Why am I writing this? Because I thought there must be some reason and order within City of Fremantle madness I do not understand. It’s probably not the fault of an officer but of the system and lack of rules.
Yesterday the two new fire extinguishers in the Roundhouse were tested and the contractor told me the only other devise he needed to test at Arthur Head for CoF was the one in the Gunners Cottage, which is the office of the Roundhouse volunteers.
This means that none of the artist’s studios at Captain’s and Mrs Trivett lanes have fire extinguishers installed although some of them have highly flammable goods in them. I don’t know a painter who would not have turpentine in their studio.
It seems illogical to me that the Roundhouse, that is highly unlikely to ever catch fire, needs to have two fire extinguishers, but highly flammable artist’s studios in tiny residential cottages that are also open to the public don’t have any.
If a fire broke out in one of the cottages it could very easily and rapidly spread to the others along the lane and all that heritage would be gone.
If the City of Fremantle is serious about an Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle it has to stop the tokenism and invest money and get expert advise on how to provide an Aboriginal experience for overseas visitors.
It is known from tourism surveys that many visitors complain about the lack of opportunities to meet Aboriginal people and engage with them and get to know more about their culture and history.
I don’t like to say it, but I told you so when I still lived at Captain’s Lane that the Walyalup Centre in a tiny old cottage was never going to work. Even Councillor Rachel Pemberton said at the FPOL committee meeting this week that Councillors knew the cottage at Arthur Head would not be perfect but it was a case of better something than nothing.
In my opinion it was also not going to work because of the wrong choice of personnel to manage the centre. The cultural centre needs someone who knows how to engage with tourists, who knows how to run an art gallery and who knows how to come up with and manage events. The Aboriginal liaison officer of the City of Fremantle is not that kind of person, no matter how likeable he is and how good he is at the job he was employed for. It is unfair to expect him to run the centre and it is not his failure but that of the administration who put him in charge. I am sure his job description when he applied for the position did not mention managing a cultural centre .
A totally different energy and knowledge base is needed to run a cultural centre than the one needed to liaise between a Wadjela administration and the Whadjuk Noongar community.
If the Walyalup Centre was to be moved it should be to the No 1 studio at J Shed that was wrongly and stupidly leased to Sunset Events to create a tavern and outdoor music centre.
If the Noongar community is not against a centre at Arthur Head this is the right location because it has a large outdoor area suitable for music and dance events and story telling, while the large space of J Shed allows for serious Aboriginal art exhibitions and events that might help fund the centre and even make it self-funding over time.
Wishy-Washy Fremantle City governance and inconsistencies are to blame for the mess the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is, because there is a serious lack of quality control and lack of a real concept for the area.
Up at Captain’s Lane the City has created a night-time ghost town that has attracted anti social behaviour (I told them so!), while it has created day-time mediocrity, with the exception of the excellent and professional Glen Cowans underwater photography.
The Walyalup centre could enhance the historic, cultural and art aspect of the area and tell the Noongar stories, and the impact of British settlement and about the connection of the area to the horrendous indigenous Rottnest Island Quod prison where so many Aboriginal men died.
To do that the City needs to go through a process of consultation, expert advise and contracting the right people to run a centre of significance that will attracts many thousands of visitors each year, help activate Arthur Head and will allow the proud Noongar history to be told by our first nation people. To continue as it is in any location will be a failure that the Noongar community does not deserve.