Yardworks art exhibition,Fremantle now


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New work from Rachel Riggs is on show until September at Gypsy Tapas House, Fremantle, Western Australia upcycling everyday throw away materials into extraordinary art! Yardworks Artist Rachel Riggs Advertisements

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Geoffrey Farmer – The Surgeon & the Photographer

g farmerIf youre in London and you havent seen this yet, its well worth a visit to the Curve Gallery at the Barbican or even a repeat visit!

While not strictly puppets, in the sense they are not animated in performance. Farmer has given a magical life to hundreds of cut outs and clippings, taken from bargain used books depositories, and formed into puppets in a 90 metre parade with sounscape and video projection.

Every day for a year he crafted a character, Farmer made his scissor cuts ‘considering the relationship of his hand to the scale of the images the books contained’ , which is can be seen as akin to the relationship of the puppet to puppeteer.

From the gallery guide ‘The sculptural forms he creates have a strong animist sensibility due to the influence on his work of Pacific northwest cultures. Deities, shamans, tricksters and shape-shifting creatures with masks, wands, staffs and other magical accessories abound among his puppets.

Geoffrey Farmer – The Surgeon & the Photographer is on until July 28th 2013 at the Curve, Barbican, London



Benevolent Asylum – Lily Hibberd

Benevolent Asylum is an installation, performance and community discussion ground. The project at the Fremantle Arts Centre last year, was prompted by the discovery of the razed site of The Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, once the most prominent building in North Melbourne, where Hibberd lived for 11 years. Established in 1851, the Asylum was abandoned in 1900 and finally demolished in 1912.

Hibberd writes ‘The exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre was the result of an encounter with the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, which sparked an examination of asylum institutions as an archetype of care and confinement in Australia. Benevolent Asylum has evolved over three years, with research across Australia and Europe, to look at the origins of institutional confinement and birth of the circumstance in which state care and incarceration are inseparable.This work has revealed that originary models still profoundly influence Australia’s chief institutions of confinement and punitive detention. In Fremantle, for instance, convict labour transported to Tasmania from London’s Millbank and Pentonville prisons brought with it the Solitary System and a penology of relentless isolation and labour. Replicated across the colony in the mid-19th century, Model Prisons were established at Fremantle, Port Arthur, Adelaide Gaol and at Pentridge in Melbourne. Inmates in this system spent 12 hours labour and 23 hours a day in 2 x 3 metre cells.’

‘Tourism at former prison sites promotes the idea that this is a ‘dark’ history, which our institutions have left well behind, and that such harsh treatment borders on fiction. This is simply another radical forgetting. Confinement operates in precisely the same way in our asylums, prisons and detention centres today. And solitary incarceration is the prevailing public secret of Australian punishment: denial of the practice is so obvious that everything is done to avoid recognising it. ‘

This is a fascinating area of historical research & documentation, and is a rich area of creation for artists in site specific installation & artworks.  Im particulalry fascinated by the current use of these spaces especially for play & free leisure activities when they hold such deep secrets in their psychological landscapes. Is this an unconcious healing process or just gentrification? Certainly at the Forum discussion with the artist, issues of asylum, the history of confinement and the relationship between historical research and creativity were discussed openly and sometimes very emotionally, between artists, historians, prison counsellors, psychiatrists, educators, activists and other community members .



Yarns of the Heart

A beautiful exhibition of hand made dolls which tell the traditional dreamtime and contemporary stories of the women who made them, was at the Museum of Western Australia earlier this year. The Community Arts Network of WA (CAN WA) revived the original doll making project, preserving the art of storytelling and doll making for generations to come.

For further information follow the story threads that make up the yarns of the heart –




Random Photos


Obscure Childrens Books by Grown up Authors

Sophie Blackall from Aldous Huxley's Childrens Book

Here are two links to Brainpickings, the brain child of Maria Popova, a cultural curator and curious mind at large,

Brain Pickings is a discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.

She states ‘Because creativity, after all, is a combinatorial force. It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.’

I couldnt agree more!


7 (More) Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Literature Authors | Brain Pickings

Shes curated a curious collection of childrens books by ‘adult authors’ with beautiful illustrations. Its been very timely to look at these while i have been researching & developing interactive theatre play sessions for early years children in a pilot programme linking the Western Australian State Library Peter Williams original illustration collection with play & arts activities.And I hope to produce childrens picture books in the future. See the blog below for my early years creative work –







Mapping Memory

Harrys Blanket

wendylugg.com                                 http://wendylugg.blogspot.com/

July 2011, I visited this interesting social history exhibition at the State Library, Perth. Resident Artist Wendy Lugg with the Royal W.A. Historical Society has explored their collections of the State Library of W.A. for stories that resonate with her own family memories. In Mapping Memory – artefacts, maps and ephemera rom the collection intermingle with the artists memorabilia and artworks in a rich layering of personal family story, collective memory and the landscapes they share.

kewpie dollAt the  turn of the 20th century Wendy Lugg’s grandmothers emigrated to join their husbands with the hope of a better life, despite the basic living and isolation. For many new arrivals, coming to W.A meant never seeing family again, just precious mementos, postcards and telegrams.The artists heritage is of thrift, and make do, searching op shops for treasures. Growing up making wonders using everyday materials and a lot of imagination. From childhood, she collected driftwood, shells and found objects from the beaches.

‘Just as reflections are distorted by ripples across the surface, memories are not always an accurate reflection of the past.’

‘Since colonization, weve made our mark on the land and its original inhabitants, not always in the best of ways.’

‘Mourning cloth.’