Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, art, elizabeth quay, fremantle, western australia by freoview on February 4, 2017



It is always good to hear that Fremantle artists are involved in major public art projects so I went to Elizabeth Quay in Perth on Friday to have a look at the water playground designed by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill with the ceramic work done by Freo J Shed artist Jenny Dawson.

They were testing the water again when I was there at 10 am so no kids enjoying the water spouts.

Roel Loopers



Posted in elizabeth quay, fremantle, perth by freoview on January 30, 2016


I made my epic journey from Fremantle across the mighty roaring Swan river this morning to have a look at the Elizabeth Quay development in Perth and must say I am underwhelmed. It appears to be a whole lot of money for not that much at all, but that is just my first impression.

To be fair to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority EQ is still a work in progress and will benefit from more buildings around it and more hospitality venues. There is also still a major ceramics artwork by Sandra Hill and Jenny Dawson to be installed, so I will reserve my final judgment for a few years.

The thing that impressed me most was the giant bird man in a boat by Aboriginal artist Laurel Nannup. It’s stunning!

There was not much food on offer so why did the MRA not put signs around EQ to point out that the Swan River Community Market was on only metres to the east of the development? After all they pay to have the markets there so why not do some decent marketing to support the stallholders.

Roel Looper


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on February 20, 2015

I had a chat at Chalkys cafe yesterday with the owner of one of the beautiful apartments at Little High Street in the former warehouse so beautifully designed for adaptive re-use by architect Ralph Hoare. Greg asked why BID had not continued with lighting up all of High Street and although electricians worked many days on putting cables underground at his building and the former Tram building opposite, there were still no lights, so maybe someone at BID can explain why the money was spent and people inconvenienced for nothing.

Greg also questioned why the City of Fremantle had spent all that money on lighting up the cliff face of Arthur Head but closed the Whalers Tunnel at 7 pm. Councillors constantly talk about reactivating the area but for some reason the 10 pm closing time of the tunnel has been put forward to 7 pm. Please explain COF!

That brings me to another point about reactivation and the Bathers Beach Art Precint. Homeless people invade the verandas and backyards of the cottages at Captain’s Lane at night because the place is a dark unoccupied ghost town after 5 pm. The gallery at no 11 now only has one single artists left instead of the 4 who started it and Wild Twig is trying very hard but lacks professional appearance. The two galleries open infrequently while the Aboriginal centre is only open on weekdays till 1 pm and not on weekends. That is not activation!

The only professional outfit on top of the hill is the great looking Glen Cowans Photo Gallery but how long can he battle on on his own? The Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been badly handled by COF and Council needs to revisit this and come up with better solutions to activate the area, even more so now that it appears that Sunset Events is in no hurry to start a pub and live music venue at J Shed any time soon.

J Shed artist Jenny Dawson said yesterday that DAADA is fitting in really well next to Greg James in the studio earmarked for Sunset Events. Delighted to hear also that she is involved with artist Sandra Hill in a large artwork around the water feature at Elizabeth Quay. Unfortunately confidentially prevented her from telling me more or showing me what it is going to look like.

Arthur Head is a fantastic heritage area and I am glad to see many more people at Bathers Beach sun baking and swimming. The SCULPTURE@BATHERS  show in March will bring thousands of people to the area for a few weeks so let’s make it one huge beach party to celebrate Fremantle’s and Western Australia’s creative talent and artists’ initiative!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, fremantle by freoview on July 23, 2014

Fremantle ceramic artist Jenny Dawson will be collaborating with Nyoongar artist Sandra Hill on the $ 232,000.00 noisewall public artwork for Leach Highway, that will be erected between Weshpool and Abernethy roads.

The welcome to country artwork, that is required to be “eclectic and striking”, will be designed by Sandra Hill after consultation with Nyoongar elders, and will be made of laser cuts, words, painting, wooden panels, lights and ceramics.

J Shed at Bathers Beach will be the creative hub for the project, so a great promotion for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 22, 2013

While the future of their tenancy at Fremantle Arthur Head still had not been resolved for the J Shed artists the industrious creatives haven’t given up and remain active and keep creating new artworks at the Bathers Beach premises.

Ceramic artist Jenny Dawson is creating a new sculpture for the Maddington Train Station, that is being upgraded to meet disability access standards. Jenny worked together with students from Sevenoaks Senior College to create the Indigenous artwork to which Nyoongar artist Sandra Hill was the consultant.

Today Devyani Shah the project manager for the Public Transport Authority and Kate Johnson from the PR department of the PTA visited J Shed to have a look at the progress of the public artwork.

Roel Loopers






Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 25, 2011

There are two seriously disappointed and annoyed artists at J Shed and  Fremantle could well lose them to another council like Cockburn. Well known and well liked sculptor Greg James and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson face eviction from their J Shed studios because the City of Fremantle wants to hand over the entire Arthur Head buildings to W.A. state agency Artsource, who plans to develop the heritage buildings into artist studios and artist in residence homes.

It makes no sense to me that established artists will be forced to leave to make way for lesser know emerging,  and overseas and interstate artists, who will then occupy the subsidised spaces.

Jenny Dawson and Greg James have paid full commercial rates for their studios to the City of Fremantle for 20 years and have looked after the interior of the building, opened their studios up for exhibitions, talks, workshops, etc. Jenny also works closely with Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill on public art commissions.

Arthur Head is a heritage precinct with heritage buildings. It has Indigenous and European  historic and heritage significance, with the first settlers arriving there in 1829. It is unbelievable that the city’s art working group who decided on the Arthur Head art plan did not have an Aboriginal visual artist on it, but musician David Hyams.

My understanding is that Artsource will only manage the studios but will not be responsible for the heritage buildings, which is another concern. Already at the City of Fremantle the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing for lack of interdepartmental communication, so how is the CoF going to look after Arthur Head when a state agency is doing only a part of it?

Initially James and Dawson were promised a two year extension of their lease, but when they received the new contract it stipulated that the lease can be terminated at any time, whenever Artsource wants to take over. That is obviously totally unacceptable to them and Greg James has more or less resigned to the fact he will leave when his lease expires in February 2012. This would not only mean losing Greg James but also two staff losing their jobs and less framing work for Bitches Brew, who do that work for James and artists who exhibit at J Shed.

When the City is desperate for new development to revitalise the city and support traders, one has to wonder why it would throw out well established businesses. Artist studios are not art galleries. They won’t be open to the public, they won’t attract visitors and tourists to the west end of the city. Artist in residence buildings will be empty for months at the time, when artists travel the state.

Artsource already manages a large number of artist studios in Fremantle and other suburbs and one has to ask how many more subsidised art spaces the state government is willing to support. One also has to ask what is in it for Fremantle. Will the City receive full commercial rates, as they do now from James and Dawson, or will the City subsidise the project, which could well mean less money available to upkeep the heritage buildings.

It is also astonishing that the inner city residents precinct group FICRA was not involved at all in what they might like to see happen on Arthur Head. One would have thought community consultation for the area is essential.

It is time the opposition spokes person for the art John Hyde starting asking questions in parliament about Artsource’s insatiable appetite for more artists studios.

Roel Loopers

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