Freo's View


Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 10, 2018


High Tide hub


I found it kind of sad to see the lovely High Tide Biennale festival hub being taken apart at Arthur’s Head next to the Roundhouse today.

I really like the construction of the round circle by Harris Architects, that was used for story telling, yoga, concerts, art events,weddings, etc. and  it was also very popular as a playground for primary school students. It juxtaposed really well with the old Roundhouse next to it.

And while we all like to have a whinge sometimes here in Freo, including I, we should also give credit when due, so let me say that it was impressive to see City of Fremantle senior arts officer Corine van Hall lugging around with the heavy wooden pieces, as that is definitely not a part of her job description.

And High Tide Biennale curator Tom Mueller also deserves to be  thanked for physically doing the heavy work all day. Did anyone realise Mueller organised the HT Biennale for the love of art and Freo without getting a cent paid for it?

Well done all and thank you!!

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on September 7, 2018



The mystery of how to remove the yellow art in Fremantle’s historic High Street appears to be a real science, for which one probably needs a university degree. More people arrived yesterday afternoon and were rubbing, pulling and scratching but the outcome was not promising.

One City of Fremantle officer said to a local cafe owner that she wished they had tested it before.

Fremantle Council increased the budget for the removal of the great and popular Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse artwork from just $ 15,000 to over $ 200,000 after it became apparent that the removal of the yellow foil would be an enormous headache, but some experts have indicated it could cost a lot more than that.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2018


I could not attend last night’s Ordinary Council meeting of the City of Fremantle, but one item on the agenda is worth interesting noting here.

Among the many budget adjustments was one to increase the public art maintenance budget to $ 221,000 to provide for the removal of the High Street public art.

This money has to come from somewhere, so the increase in funding for the removal of the yellow Arcs D’Ellipse will come from Public Art $ 52,000, Festivals $ 28,000, Fremantle Arts Centre $ 25,000, Events $ 15,000 and net parking income from the Point Street carpark $ 81,000.

I understand one disgruntled High Street property owner lodged a writ this week for $ 50,000 for the removal of the yellow foil from their building, so that would be a quarter of the budgeted money gone just for the one building.

Time will tell when the public tender quotes come in if the $ 200,000 is anywhere near enough to remove, repair and repaint the affected buildings.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 17, 2018


Arcs D'Ellipse


This is one of the last blog posts I am publishing about the removal issues with the Felice Varini yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in Fremantle’s High Street, until the City of Fremantle has appointed a contractor and let us know the final costs of it.

But with all the negativity at the end of the artwork’s life I want to point out something we should not forget and underestimate in all of this.

There is absolutely no doubt from the many days that I was in the far West End-that is every day of the year-that there was a significant increase in visitors to Arthur’s Head, who were queueing up on the steps to get photos of the great optical illusion.

The expressions of delighted surprise when they ‘discovered’ the artwork were a real joy to watch and business owners nearby noticed a definite increase in visitors, as did the Roundhouse.

The promotion and marketing value of tens of thousands of photos being shared on social media of Freo’s historic High Street are immeasurable and something you just can not achieve with most tourism campaigns.

The High Tide Biennale that was under the umbrella of the Fremantle Festival added a new and very creative dimension to the tired festival and I can’t wait for next year to see what they come up with.

Yes, it is disappointing that there are serious issues with the removal of the artwork, but that is now being professionally addressed by the City of Fremantle. It is a very expensive inconvenience, but not a disaster. Fremantle is not falling apart, we did not have an earthquake like the poor people of Lombok, but we had an outstanding artwork by an internationally renowned artist that put us on the map as a progressive and creative city.  Let’s keep it in perspective!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 16, 2018

Here the media release by the City of Fremantle regarding the yellow art work removal in High Street:

Arc d’Ellipses removal goes to tender

A commitment to taking a ‘building by building’ approach to ensure safe and careful removal of the Arcs d’Ellipses artwork has prompted the City of Fremantle to undertake a formal tender process.

Internationally renowned artist Felice Varini used yellow-painted foil to create a striking optical illusion along High Street, Fremantle, as part of last year’s High Tide festival. After extending the artwork’s tenure on the back of its strong public acclaim, the City is currently working through the process to remove the foil.

Quotes were sought recently from a number of contractors but following review and evaluation the City has determined it will not accept any of these.

Instead, a more structured scope of works will be developed and a dedicated project manager assigned to work with building owners to create bespoke plans that consider the specific needs of each building.

Director Infrastructure and Projects Graham Tattersall said the City was committed to getting the artwork removed and buildings restored to their pre-installation condition in the most effective and sensitive way.

“Our priority is to ensure the foil comes off without impact on the buildings and so it’s important we are able to define and manage the most suitable and appropriate solution that considers each building’s individual characteristics,” he said.

“While the proposals we received in the initial request for quote were helpful in giving us a clearer picture of what is required, we were also concerned about the wide range of approaches, work methodologies and prices submitted – all of which were above the legislated threshold for councils to call for public tenders.

“On reflection, we felt the scope was probably too broad, and posed potential ambiguity and risks for contractors. We believe it’s best we take a ‘building by building’ approach that considers the varying conditions of the various facades, the different surfaces – and ensures the right solution for each situation.

“We appreciate the level of interest in the issue and our primary focus is to do this properly. We thank building owners for their understanding and patience and will work closely with them to ensure we get this right.”

Mr Tattersall said the City would ensure that building owners are kept briefed through the procurement and delivery process.

“We will continue to provide community updates as the project progresses,” he said


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 16, 2018



A Fremantle building owner in historic High Street informed me late last evening that he had received a letter from City of Fremantle Director Infrastructure and Project Delivery, and acting CEO Graham Tattersall to let him know that the City had not accepted any of the quotes for the removal and make good of the Felice Varini yellow artwork Arcs D’Ellipse and that it would now go to a public tender process.

This delay will most likely mean that the removal and repaint won’t all be completed this year as the City would not want cherrypickers in historic High Street and the loss of parking bays during the Christmas shopping period.

A senior officer told me on Thursday that the quotes had been “all over the place” and that some where open ended because the cleaning and painting companies just did not know how much work would be involved. The officer suggested that more testing, on different buildings, might be required. He was adamant that the City wanted to get it absolutely right and hence the responsibility for the process was moved away from the arts officers and Community Development Department, because it was not their expertise. That makes a lot of sense to me.

The High Street building owner suggested that the public tender was necessary because the City’s own policy demands a public tender process for work over $ 150,000, so he assumed all the quotes/estimates had come in over that amount.

I also got a call from the City’s media officer late afternoon yesterday who said the City would send out a media release sometime today, but I am elsewhere occupied so won’t be able to deal with that till late this afternoon. Stay tuned!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 14, 2018

art 1


Tenders for the removal of the Felice Varini yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in High Street and repair to the heritage buildings closed last Friday, so we should soon be told by the City of Fremantle what will be involved, how much it will cost, and if some or all of the costs will be recovered from the artist.

There is a bit of angst and worry among some of the property owners, with one already talking to lawyers and another one has started a petition for a special electors meeting.

The best way forward for the City  is calling a stakeholders meeting where all the affected High Street building owners get first hand information from the responsible officers, as the present communication is not deemed sufficient.

There is little use in some receiving emails and others not, and that from different CoF officers. That only adds to the confusion and angst, so invite all the property owners to a meeting with CoF officers and experts, so they can be told exactly what is going on and what is planned.

We already hear suggestions of expensive traffic management, loss of parking bays and even road closure, as matching the paint can’t be done at night, so that will have to be done during the day.

From my own observations of seeing cleaning and painting companies trying to remove the foil it looks like it will be a long and slow and careful process that might not even be completed before the end of the year.

I hear six companies looked at the problems and they all tendered, so I hope they added a clause in their tender that fully painting of some facades is not included in the cost, as that will be very expensive.

On a related note I’d like to welcome Destry Puia who has taken over from the very well liked Pete Stone as the Manager Arts and Culture. He has been thrown in the deep end as the artwork removal is now one of his responsibilities to manage.

I hear Destry is a proud Maori man who relocated with his young family from Melbourne, so welcome to Freo, Destry. I am looking forward to meeting you. If I can assist you with anything in settling down here, just send me an email!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2018



The trial attempts to safely remove the yellow foil from heritage buildings in Fremantle’s High Street by all different kind of cleaning and painting companies continued this week, but have not been enormously successful, as these photos show.

On Monday another wall cleaning company tried out hot steam, and that worked partially on certain surfaces, but not on others.

It is interesting to note in this context that High Tide Biennale curator Tom Mueller of PS Art Space has gone into hiding and does not want to know about the problems.

The biennale Mueller created was fantastic and he deserves a lot of credit for it, as he does for making PSAS into a great arts and events space, but mature people take ownership of their successes and failures, so not responding to an email I sent him last Wednesday and crossing the street on Monday afternoon so that he would not have to engage with me and two High Street property owners affected by the Varini artwork removal debacle is unprofessional and silly.

Tom Mueller was very keen to seek my support before the High Tide Biennale, and he was happy to front the media for the Arcs D’Ellipse launch with Minister David Templeman, Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt and fellow Swiss artist Felice Varini, but now he’s gone all silent.

Also missing in action is the Fremantle Herald. While all the main media have reported on the problems of removing the artwork and the damage to the historic buildings, our own local community paper has not published a word about it. Worried about losing advertising revenue from the City of Fremantle, and not caring one bit about what it will cost ratepayers to repair the artwork damage, very tired old Chook?

One thing is for sure, that the removal is going to be problematic and very costly. Traffic management will be required, as might heritage expert advise, cherry pickers will be needed and maybe even road closure of High Street.

What is certain is that building owners will not accept just a patch up job, but will insist on perfection and reinstating what was there before the yellow foil was put up.

Whoever the ‘lucky’ tender winner will be, I wish them good luck. I don’t envy them for the job ahead.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 6, 2018



Tenders for the removal and make good of the Felice Varini yellow artwork in Fremantle’s historic High Street finished last Friday, so we should find out this week what the solution is to remove the foil without damaging the paint and render, and what it will cost the ratepayers.

The City of Fremantle informed me on Friday that the artist was only required to have public liability insurance for the installation of the great artwork, but not for its removal, which seems a bad oversight to me.

While I love the outstanding public artwork Varini created in Fremantle, I believe he should take ownership also of the difficulties in removing it.

The photos above show the effort cleaning and painting companies made last week removing the foil, so they would know what is required before quoting on the big job. One of them said it could be $ 500,000 to do it properly.

Roel Loopers






Posted in art, city of fremantle, festivals, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2018


art removal


More cleaning and painting contractors were  in Fremantle’s High Street yesterday and today to look at solutions to safely remove the Arcs D’Ellipse yellow foil artwork from the historic buildings.

The photo shows a team of Van Diddens who did quite well removing parts with a heat gun, but it would be a long and tedious job they told me, as there would need to be hot steam cleaning of the facades as well.

Another contractor told a High Street property owner that the job would cost at least $ 500,000 and that did not include if some of the buildings had to be totally painted if the colours could not be matched.

I emailed some questions regarding liability to the City of Fremantle CEO and also to the director/curator of the High Tide Biennale this morning, but have not received any replies from them yet.

Roel Loopers

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