Features/What to SEE/Multi-arts

Take a treasure hunt at 10 Nights in Port

7 August 2023

Fremantle Festival’s 10 Nights in Port is like an adventure, discovers Nina Levy, where audiences can discover music, art, circus, dance, film and even augmented reality in Walyalup | Fremantle’s hidden corners.

Ranging across indoor and outdoor venues in Walyalup, storytelling is at the heart of Fremantle Festival: 10 Nights in Port. Here’s a selection of what’s on offer.

A First Nations man wearing a black t-shirt with the Aboriginal flag and a raised black fist in the centre, kneels and raises one fist.
Photo: supplied

You’re (Not) Wanjoo
10 – 20 August @ Moores Building

Created by Noongar artist Cole Baxter and Noongar/Kungarakan artist Ilona McGuire, You’re (Not) Wanjoo is an exhibition that builds a picture of the First Nations led fight for freedom, justice and recognition. The exhibition will feature existing and adapted works from Baxter and McGuire alongside archival materials from Fremantle and around Australia.

“We’re centring the safety of Noongars and Blackfullas in this exhibition, so if you’re mob expect a space that is designed for you to feel comfortable and proud,” says Baxter.

“For our non-Indigenous attendees we invite you to a space where you get to un-learn in order to relearn. It is a privilege to inhabit society unchallenged by the systemic structures that were designed for you to flourish at the hands of others’ demise. Please check your fragility upon entering and examine what is prompting your discomfort when you enter a space that was designed for you.

“And think about the daily experiences that others incur who don’t have the agency to remove themselves from that life experience.”

A woman performing with her band raises one hand. She stands in from of a 10 Nights in Port poster.
Photo: Tashi Hall

Hidden Treasures
10 & 17 August @ West End venues

In its seventh year Hidden Treasures is exactly that – a program of local original contemporary music in Freo’s nooks and crannies, including The National Hotel, PSAS, The Navy Club, The Buffalo Club and Honky Tonk. Each venue will host a line-up of four to five musicians/bands.

For musician Rein Mali, who plays The National Hotel Thursday 17 August, Hidden Treasures is an opportunity to introduce more punters to locally-made R&B and Soul music. “Being able to reflect my life experiences through harmony, melody and rhythm is always a special thing. I’m thankful for 10 Nights in Port giving the opportunity for independent artists like myself to perform and showcase our works,” he says.

“Audiences and visitors can expect to be treated to soulful, heartfelt, and engaging music. R&B and Neo Soul genres are known for their emotive and groovy sounds, and I hope my music resonates and brings that vibe to the listeners.”

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Angie Colman, who will play the Navy Club Thursday 10 August, says audiences can “expect a bit of pain and a bit of joy, and to experience a collection of musical backgrounds and influences coming together to create a rich and unique sound,” in her band’s set. “The song writing you will hear is raw and honest, and we hope through this performance you feel seen and comforted.”

10 Nights in Port image of a series of posters of individuals on an old brick wall.
Photo: supplied

The Mapping Exercise
10 – 20 August @ Walyalup|Fremantle and online

Place and memory are inextricably linked, says artist and producer Marnie Richardson.

I know what she means – there are certain parts of Perth that assail me with memories of a younger version of me.

This concept is one that drives Richardson’s work, The Mapping Exercise, an audio storytelling project that invites you to tune in online to hear stories strongly connected to Fremantle. She hopes that when you return, you’ll have that jolt of recollection.

The Mapping Exercise disrupts the spaces normally taken over by advertising and gives it back to the people,” says Richardson. “There will be portraits pasted up around Walyalup with a few words related to the story.”

“That’s a visual story in itself. If audiences would like to they can then scan the QR code at the bottom of the poster and listen to the bigger audio story. They range from four to sixteen minutes and it’s just you and the storyteller sharing an honest, real moment together.

“In keeping with the theme of the festival, all the stories relate in some way to the waters around Walyalup.”

10 Nights in Port: a guitarist and a singer performing.
Photo: Miles Noel Photography

FAC Yeah! Festive Choral
16 August @ Fremantle Town Hall

If you ever dreamed about singing in a choir, FAC Yeah! Festive Choral is for you.

Led by Natalie Gillespie, FAC Yeah! community choir invites everyone to join in and sing – all voices welcome.

A lifelong musician Gillespie says she understands the benefits of singing in terms of mental health, expression and identity. “I worked with Australian super group Yothu Yindi for several years. This mob showed me the importance of storytelling through music. So, when I facilitate, I suggest choir members not just sing the tunes but connect and make meaning of the lyrics and feel the rhythm of the song in their whole body,” she says.

And what can participants expect from the evening?

“A passionate choir boss who knows how to create a safe joyful space. Songs to hopefully spark whatever emotion the individual is experiencing,” says Gillespie. “And a place to let go for a couple of hours. Oh and of course the nervous laughing when stepping out of your comfort zone and singing (because you’ve always wanted to).”

An underwater photo of something that looks like coral. In one corner rests something that looks like a giant lens, or a crystal ball.
Photo: Sandy McKendrick

Walyalup Waters
10 – 20 August @ PS Art Space

“The drive behind this exhibition is from a very simple place – the strong sense of fascination I and all of these artists have with the ocean and its creatures,” says the curator of Walylup Waters Yvonne Doherty.

The exhibition brings together local creatives Erin Coates, Ross Potter, Grace Slaven, Sandy McKendrick, Anna Nazzari, Jo Darbyshire, Amok Island, Cass Lynch and Ian Daniell, working across a range of media, including painting, drawing, moving image, poetry, print and immersive installation.

“The exhibition has two parts to it,” says Dohery. “The first is an exhibition of artists’ work at PS Art Space. Many of the artists in the show are also fellow thalassophiles and divers. The exhibition explores the waters around Fremantle, through uncovering elements of the uncanny, contested, and the unexpected.

“As they walk through the exhibition space, I am hoping audiences feel as I do when I dive, that they are exploring a less familiar world.”

The second part is an outdoor exhibition at Bathers Beach/Manjaree. “The outdoor exhibition invites audiences to contemplate large-scale photography of some of the lesser-known and surprising creatures that divers see in our waters. From the incredibly beautiful Leafy Sea Dragon to the extraordinary Spun of Light nudibranch – I love watching people discover these creatures that they have probably swum near, and have perhaps never seen,” continues Doherty.

“There is also a fantastic public program accompanying the show – with a range of artist talks, art workshops, and talks by marine biologists Dr Nerida Wilson and Dr Tiffany Sih.”

A person holds up a mobile phone as though taking a photo of a beach but there is a shell on the screen that isn't in the actual scene.
Photo: Jess Wyld

10 – 20 August @ Walyalup | Fremantle

Bringing together ancient culture and new technology in the form of augmented reality, Boodjar is an app created collaboratively by First Nations artists Sharyn Egan, Yabini Kickett, Jarni McGuire, Turid Calgaret, Harley Richards and Greg Barr and 3D technical artists Voyant AR.

Once you’ve downloaded the app you can explore Walyalup to discover the new works created by the five artists.

While the app was developed for launch at 10 Nights in Port, it will remain available after the festival finishes.

Artist Greg Barr says his work for Boodjar, is about the deep love he has for his family, his friends, his mob, as well as loved ones who have departed this physical realm. “It’s about the gratitude I have for having my mob all around me, and the special place they have in my heart and soul,” he says.

“Visitors can expect to be immersed in the intertwined my personal and creative worlds … the emotive and colourful world of my paintings, filled with fluent brush strokes, tactile layers of medium, and overlaying of textural gesture marks. Visitors will also be moved by the rhythmic beats of my didgeridoo, cajon and tapping sticks, and experience my sense of humour.”

Plus there’s more! If circus is your jam, read about Eclipse, Circus WA’s 10 Nights in Port offering, in our August gig guide.

Or head to the 10 Nights in Port website for the full program, which runs 10-20 August.

Pictured top: Catch local bands at ‘Hidden Treasures’. Photo: Tashi Hall

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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