Life on a Muster
Calendar, Exhibitions, February 19, Visual arts

Visual Arts: Desert River Sea Opening Cultural Celebration

9 February @ Art Gallery of WA ·
Presented by Art Gallery of WA ·

Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley is the highly anticipated
culmination of the Art Gallery of WA’s six-year Kimberley visual arts
project, supported by Rio Tinto. This landmark exhibition showcasing
the vibrant and contemporary creative talent of Kimberley artists
opens with a cultural celebration on 9 February 2019 from 10am to 5pm.

Join AGWA for an unmissable celebration of Kimberley art and culture
with artist talks, art demonstrations, cultural performances and
family activities. Learn about the art of pearl shell carving with
the Sibosado brothers – Darrell and Garry, and bush-dying with natural
materials with Eva and Ivy Nargoodah. Hear from Mowanjum Arts on ochre
crushing and Wandjina Rock art education, or watch Mervyn Street of
Mangkaja Arts carve and shave a cow hide. Waringarri Aboriginal Arts
will demonstrate boab nut carving.

AGWA and art centre curators, along with artists will talk about their
experiences across the day. Listen to live music by David Pigram and
browse handmade items including carved pearl shells, dyed silks, textiles
and jewellery at the AGWA Shop.

More info
W: www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/exhibitions/desert-river-sea-exhibition-experience.asp
E:  admin@artgallery.wa.gov.au

Pictured:
John (Johnny) Nargoodah Life on a muster 2018 (detail). Synthetic polymer and
leather ink on stamped cow hide, 92 x 199 cm. Courtesy Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency.

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Alice reading a book and swinging her legs
Children, News, Performing arts, Visual arts

Summer Gig Guide for Kids

Wondering what to do with the kids this summer? Seesaw co-editor and mum-at-large Rosalind Appleby has compiled a gig guide that will kindle creativity!

The summer holidays are here with long weeks of sunshine, rest and play for children. How will you fill your child’s summer? I’m reluctant to schedule events into the wonderful hours of unstructured play that my children relish, but I also know that things deteriorate when we stay home for too long.

My favourite thing to do is head out to art events.  The American writer Dorothea Brande said “A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.”

I find that going to arts events as a family stimulates so much creativity when we return home. And there is plenty to choose from this summer with a host of family-friendly events plus the Fringe World starting in January.

Opening this week at the State Theatre Centre is the 91-Storey Treehouse. The team behind the 13-, 26-, 52- and 78-Storey Treehouses are back with another trip into this weird and fantastical world. The play by Richard Tulloch is adapted from the books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton and aimed at children aged 6-12.

Also on this weekend is Symphony in the City. On Saturday night the West Australian Symphony Orchestra is joining forces with Lotterywest, the City of Perth and Variety for what will be Perth’s largest outdoor Christmas concert. Sing-along to Jingle Bells and Silent Night while also enjoying the sparkling Overture to Bernstein’s Candide, Jupiter from Holst’s The Planets and Tchaikovsky’s popular 1812 Overture, featuring a spectacular fireworks-filled finale.

In the lead up to Christmas there are some lovely themed events for children. The immersive theatre show Santa’s Enchanted Wardrobe runs from 14-25th December at Claremont Showgrounds. This imaginative mix of the Narnia and Santa stories involves the Wardrobe, Enchanted Forests, Ice Caves and wonderful creatures waiting to help or hinder you on your epic adventure to meet a real Santa! Perfect for ages 2-16.

The City of Perth has curated a Christmas Lights Trail.  Select from two mapped out journeys or go your own way as you marvel at the stunning animated lights, street decorations and projections across the CBD.

A new children’s show Maisie will be premiering at the Subiaco Arts Centre on Jan 18-19. Maisie is a princess who doesn’t want to be a princess. She’d much prefer to play video games or go exploring! The production features professional and emerging young artists, and is also part of the Fringe Perth program. For more Fringe events stay tuned for Seesaw’s Fringe Kids Guide.

Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic Alice in Wonderland comes to life at the State Theatre Centre from 22-23 January. A cast of actors and puppeteers fresh from performances in Victoria will bring to life this madcap story.

Another classic book has been adapted to the stage by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. They are reprising their 2015 production Moominpappa at Sea based on the series of Moomin books by Tove Jansson. The season runs from Jan 14 to Feb 2 for children aged 5+. Spare Parts will also be running a pop up puppet making station on Saturdays in the park directly in front of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Experienced tutors will help children make their own hand puppets.

If your children like to get involved in the action you could also enrol them in NIDA’s Screen Acting Boot Camp for kids which runs 7-13th Jan. The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts also offers a range of theatre, musical theatre and music courses for young people ages 9-18 at WAAPA’s Summer School. These courses run on various dates throughout the summer holidays, starting Monday 19 December.

For kids who love to dance, Co3 Australia is running contemporary dance workshops January 14-18 (7-12 years), focusing on developing creativity, imagination and team work through dance. For teens, the senior workshop runs January 29 – February 1 (13-18 years) and includes daily contemporary technique classes, workshops in improvisation and choreography, and a taste of the Co3 repertoire.

An absolute must-see is the Fremantle Art Centre’s first curated exhibition for children running throughout the holidays. Animaze: Amazing Animals for Kids is a visual and sensory delight. You can read the Seesaw review here. FAC also run a plethora of art classes for all age ranges during the holidays including pottery, 3D animation, digital game development, craft, film-making, stencil, clowning, mosaic, drawing and tie dying.

Speaking of art classes, there are plenty on offer over summer. In Fremantle Inkling (a studio next to Paper Bird) will be running Christmas art classes from the 17-21st December plus holiday classes in January. Themes include clay, watercolour, selfies, rock art and Christmas! Other options are Quirky Cactus in Subiaco, the Children’s School of Contemporary Art in Applecross, Galleria Art Studio in Morley, Creative Kids Art Club at various locations and Jackie Peach in Queens Park runs paint pouring classes for children 10+.

Dive in and kindle your child’s creativity this summer!

Pictured Top: Alice in Wonderland by Boyd Productions

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Terminal Lucidity
Calendar, December 18, Visual arts

Visual Arts: Terminal Lucidity

7 – 21 December @ Whitespace,  Fremantle ·
Presented by George Howlett ·

George Howlett’s 2018 solo exhibition Terminal Lucidity presents
new multi media artworks incorporating painting, neon lighting and
sculptural elements. Playing on the definition of Terminal Lucidity,
his work reflects on moments of mental clarity artists experience
when working alone in their studios. Humour is often a source of the
dialogue in George’s work and installations.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsor Write Light Neon, George has been
able to achieve a well-conceptualised body of work through custom-designed
lighting in combination with paint and colour. The effects are minimal
and stunning. In contrast to the minimal painted works are a series of
custom-made neon faces that form part of a collaborative project between
Howlett and Write Light Neon.

To reinforce the ideas within his work George has created a purpose-built
space that truly has become the blank canvas of galleries. Through kind
sponsorship from Dulux Australia and D+D Property Group, he has upgraded
the existing floors and installed walls to better accommodate ambitious
exhibitions. His install effort has set the scene to showcase future artists
work in the newly opened Whitespace in Pakenham Street, Fremantle. Opening
on the 7th December 2018, guests are welcome to explore a visually bold,
playful, colourful and all encapsulating exhibition.

Opening night 7 December 6:30pm-9:30pm
Exhibition runs until 4 pm 21 December
Gallery will be open daily 10am-4pm throughout the duration of the exhibition

More info
W: www.whitespacestudiogallery.com
E:  info@whitespacestudiogallery.com  

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A photo of two people climbing a sand dune. Their body outlines are filled with pink geometric shapes.
News, Reviews, Visual arts

At surface level

Review: Rebecca McCauley & Aaron Claringbold, ‘Speaking to the Surface of Lake’; Matt Aitkin and Mei Swan Lim, ‘Land Sale’; Tessa Rex, ‘Sequestered’; James Doohan & Bianca Sharkey, ‘Astro Morphs Ascension’ ·
Cool Change Contemporary ·
Review by Belinda Hermawan ·

One of Perth’s newest artist-run initiatives, Cool Change Contemporary, has curated a joint exhibition that explores landscape, perspective and the ever-challenging impact of mankind on our natural environment. Located in separate gallery spaces, the artists’ works transcend the walls that divide them, drawing invisible lines of connection.

Matt Aitken and Mei Swan Lim’s “Land Sale”, showing in Gallery 2, is a mixed media delight that is the most successful of the four exhibitions. Their play on “yellow sand” and “white sand” highlights the incompatibility of urban sprawl and conservation efforts. The Home Reno Craft tables look like furniture you’d find in a kindergarten – chunky and childlike, a white and yellow puzzle suggestive of play. But this infantility hints at a collective ignorance, something that is highlighted and critiqued by the title AV installation, in which we watch land being cleared for housing developments and witness the pervading social emptiness of streets built on these fringes.

Aitken and Lim’s Mountain Dune features fluorescent yellow sand in a PVC bottle, suggesting an unnatural toxicity that is also alluded to in several of the photographs on the opposite wall, in contrast to the natural yellow of desert landscape. The lines linking evidentiary materials in the Big Map are also fluorescent yellow, rather than the red often used in depictions of investigation or conspiracy maps, and the tongue-in-cheek evidence causes its own alarm when you realise these “crimes” are not so funny after all.

A person dressed in hi-res gear, in a desert, at sunset
Matt Aitken & Mei Swan Lim, Land Sale, 2018, single channel video, 12:40.

There are some stunning shots of unceded land in Rebecca McCauley and Aaron Claringbold’s “Speaking to the Surface of a Lake” in Gallery 1. The artists have purposely dispensed with the trope of the horizontal line on which landscape photography has long relied, successfully frustrating the viewer, who can no longer judge scale. The photographs of Lake King are a highlight in this regard, also capturing hues and textures absent from the type of photography one might see in, say, tourism campaigns.

The various salt compositions on display are also unique, though their placement on the window sill and centre plinth seems to underplay how much of a natural wonder they are. Perhaps this is the point, to place the extraordinary in the ordinary, unsettling the viewer. There is also a lot of unused floorspace around the crowded centre plinth and, while this may be a deliberate play on our sense of scale, the obvious vastness acts to reduce the images; on first glance, one might dismiss the photographs as stock images.

Rebecca McCauley & Aaron Claringbold, Speaking to the surface of a lake (exhibition view)
Rebecca McCauley & Aaron Claringbold, ‘Speaking to the surface of a lake’ (exhibition view).

The viewing of Tessa Rex’s “Sequestered” in Gallery 3 seems to suffer as a result of the way it has been installed. Rex’s title work is a nine-minute video loop, but it’s difficult to engage with the projected Arctic image and the classical audio track. There is nowhere to sit, and standing is a disorienting experience when you’re not sure if you’re meant to be looking for changing nuances in the image or whether it is permanently static (or, in fact, jammed). Similarly, it’s easy to dismiss the music as a dramatic device. On reading about Rex’s residency in sub-arctic Canada it becomes clear this former activist and now non-classical documentary maker has put a lot of thought into this piece, and it translates better when viewed online. The three “experiments”, backlit with pink light in the centre of the room, are diminished by the confusion over the video experience.

Tessa Rex, SEQUESTERED, 2018, single channel video, 9:00
Tessa Rex, ‘Sequestered’, 2018, single channel video, 9:00.

In the Project Space room, James Doohan and Bianca Sharkey’s Astro Morphs is a highly original, colourful performance piece that embraces human movement and playfully incorporates molecular patterns. It is deliberately cryptic, with the artists delivering a “nuanced confusion”, as they term it, in the journey of characters Yow and Sox. Again, the way the work has been installed in the space affected this viewing experience. While there is a bench to sit on, there isn’t a blackout curtain at the door (as there is in Gallery 3) and complete cinema blackout is, arguably, required to hold the viewer’s attention to the psychedelic visuals. The inclusion of three masks and a full-body suit – props from the performance – at the side of the room distracts the eye, and the open-door entrance is an exit reminder. This creative piece is likely best enjoyed while fully immersed.

This was my first visit to Cool Change, and its location on the first floor of the Bon Marche building is surprisingly secluded. I look forward to seeing what this ARI has in store for us next.

The exhibitions continue until 15 December.

Pictured top: James Doohan & Bianca Sharkey, ‘Ascension’ (from ‘Astro Morphs’), 2018, single channel video, 11:50.

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An artwork of yellow and black geometric lines on a concrete wall next to a staircase.
News, Reviews, Visual arts

At the intersection of art and friendship

Review: Various artists, ‘Collective States’; Bevan Honey & Paul Moncrieff, ‘BHPM’·
Art Collective WA ·
Review by Miranda Johnson ·

The exhibitions “Collective States” and “BHPM”, currently at Art Collective WA, both explore ideas of collaboration and collectivity, and the possibilities that arise from community and friendship.

“Collective States”, curated by Paola Anselmi, brings together a range of artists whose work is not immediately similar. In so doing, Anselmi emphasises points of connection across a range of art practices, showcasing the diversity of work created by mid-career WA artists as well as the ways in which these practices can unexpectedly overlap, collide or intersect. Featuring the work of Christophe Canato, Jennifer Cochrane, Mel Dare, Louise Dickmann, Jane Finlay, Indra Geidans, Paul Kaptein, Susan Roux, Vanessa Russ and Lynnette Voevodin, the exhibition variously displays work that examines bodies, patterns, textures and the WA landscape.

Many of the works are exploratory, portraying their subject matters in unexpected ways. Christophe Canato’s Galerie de Portrait #1-8 is a series of portraits with impossibly placed features – ears are twisted upside down, or placed in the middle of the forehead, emerging from the centre. The images are slightly unsettling, with the “wrongness” of the features challenging the unity of a single face and creating multiple anonymous identities within each image.

This theme of images revealing multitudes or challenging initial appearances is carried through to other works in the exhibition, such as Jennifer Cochrane’s Impossible Shadow sculptures, which emerge from corners, working with the architecture of the space to create shadows and patterns where none previously existed.

Other artists examine the tropes and common narratives of the WA landscape, with Indra Geidan’s The State I’m In placing emphasis on roadkill, four-wheel drives, and native flora and fauna, juxtaposed against the kitchiness of the State Museum’s souvenir teaspoons (hanging neatly on an Australia-shaped rack) and crockery sets.

An artwork made of canvas with frames of blue, yellow, green, red and black
Negotiating the vicissitudes of a long friendship: Bevan Honey and Paul Moncrieff, ‘BHPM8’, spraypaint on canvas, acrylic paint on plywood, 70 x 50cm.

In “BHPM”, Bevan Honey and Paul Moncrieff use their art practices to negotiate the vicissitudes of a long friendship; the challenges of communication and distance as well as its benefits and rewards. Over the past three years, the artists have been exchanging works and intervening with paint or construction additions, overlapping or alongside the original piece. The results are structured objects or assemblages of (variously) acrylic, plywood, spray paint and metal, all which seem remarkably unified and considered – a mark of the ultimate benefits of ongoing negotiation and collaboration. These collaborations are the physical results of a friendship and creative relationship that prioritises change, the unexpected and responsivity.

In both exhibitions, points of connections emerge between and across individual works, creating an interestingly layered showcase of WA artists.

Both exhibitions continue until December 22.

Pictured top is Jennifer Cochrane’s “Old Shadows, New Shadows”, 2018, tape on steps in Cathedral Square, Perth, variable dimensions. Courtesy Art Collective WA.

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Desert River Sea Portraits of the Kimberley
April 19, Calendar, February 19, March 19, May 19, Visual arts

Visual Arts: Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley

9 Feb – 27 May @ Art Gallery of WA ·
Presented by Art Gallery of WA, various artists
and Kimberley art centres ·

Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley is the highly
anticipated culmination of the Art Gallery of WA’s six-year
Kimberley visual arts project, supported by Rio Tinto. This
landmark exhibition showcasing the vibrant and contemporary
creative talent of Kimberley artists opens with a cultural
celebration on 9 February 2019.

New works from six Kimberley art centres and three independent
artists will be presented alongside a selection of legacy works
from art centre collections. Together with works from AGWA’s
collection, the exhibition offers a rare experience of the land,
artists and art of the Kimberley.

Artists and art centres represented in the Desert River Sea exhibition
include: Darrell & Garry Sibosado (Lombadina); Daniel Walbidi (Bidyadanga);
Kira Kiro Art Centre (Kalumburu) and artist collectives from Mangkaja
Arts Resource Agency (Fitzroy Crossing); Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture
Centre (Mowanjum); Waringarri Aboriginal Arts (Kununurra); Warlayirti
Artists (Balgo); and Warmun Art Centre (Warmun).

The exhibition has been shaped by the people and the places of the
Kimberley. Artists and art centres have embraced the opportunity to
share their stories of country and lived experience through innovative
contemporary art practice.

Opening Weekend Cultural Celebration | FREE
10am-5pm, 9 February 2019
Join AGWA for an unmissable celebration of Kimberley culture with artist talks and art demonstrations, cultural performances, and family activities.

More info
W: www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/exhibitions/desert-river-sea-exhibition-experience.asp
E:  admin@artgallery.wa.gov.au

Pictured:  Sonia Kurarra Noonkanbah Highway 2018 (detail). Synthetic polymer on cow hide, 140 x 268 cm. Courtesy Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency.

 

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children entering a room full of crotcheted reef and sea animals
Children, Exhibitions, News, Reviews, Visual arts

Amazing kids exhibition pitches it right first time

Review: ‘Animaze; Amazing Animals for Kids’ ⋅
Fremantle Arts Centre, November 24 ⋅
Review by Rosalind Appleby ⋅

Visiting the Fremantle Arts Centre’s latest exhibition was like touring Aladdin’s cave; room after room filled with artistic riches that the four children I had in tow wanted to admire, touch, and try. Fortunately that’s exactly what is intended with Animaze: Amazing Art for Kids. Fremantle Arts Centre’s first exhibition designed specifically for children features the work of 50 artists and much of the work is interactive. You can time your visit to coincide with a sculpture or crotchet classes, story time, stroller tour or artist in residence session. Entry is free and even better you can pause part way for lunch at the cafe or a run under the trees.

Ross Potter demonstrates his shading pencil. Photo Rosalind Appleby

We started in the gallery where Ross Potter was working on a life-sized drawing of Tricia the elephant from Perth Zoo. Potter patiently answered questions and demonstrated how he used his toolbox of pencils and electric erasers to shade the enormous elephant with photographic accuracy. Then we were distracted for a good twenty minutes by the immersive joy of a room full of crochet. The Golden Wattle Hookers (Jill and Holly O’Meehan) have constructed a reef structure from brightly coloured wool art that climbs up walls, hangs from the roof and creates snuggly nooks.  It was the ultimate in tactile, sensory art and for several in my entourage this was the highlight, a place where they could hide, rest, and marvel.

Further treasures were uncovered down a hallway (via a 2-channel soundscape of frog and bird calls) where a dark room offered monster animal portraits (Austen Mengler) , shadow puppet opportunities and – by chance – the opportunity to become a work of art. It was perhaps not part of the original intention but my children – encouraged by the spirit of participation the exhibition had generated – discovered they were also illuminated by the UV light in Anna Nazzari’s aquarium: “My shirt has become seaweed!” my five year old exulted.

There was so much to see and do: Joe Ong’s intricate 10 metre pen drawing of 460 animals caused us to pause in wonder; the animated numbat images scurrying across a wall invited whole-body participation and there was wallpaper to colour and pom-poms to stick on a giraffe.

And then there were the bean bags scattered everywhere to collapse in. It was during one such chill-stop that we noticed the Cicada series on a wall.  “I like Shaun Tan’s work,” the nine year old in our party recognised it with delight. “It’s unorthodox. He draws weird things that aren’t normal. They are grey and sad but there is always something bright in there that the story is about.”

Shadow puppets invite a spirit of participation. Photo Rosalind Appleby

It’s not hard to ignite the imagination of a child but they are also honest critics, not easily duped by adults dragging them through an ‘educational’ art experience. It is sheer delight when arts companies (as Fremantle Arts Centre have done) pitch it just right so that the children interact spontaneously. All four of my entourage voted Animaze a success. “I really like art,” said one. “I suck at it but I really like it and it was good to learn more”.

“The whole thing was important,” they concluded, “doing an exhibition for the first time ever just for kids.”

Animaze: Amazing Art for Kids continues until January 23. Visit the website for details of classes and artist in residence sessions.

Pictured top: Jill and Holly O’Meehan’s Neon Lagoon. Photo Rebecca Mansell.

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Refuge
April 19, Calendar, February 19, Film, Installation, March 19, May 19, Perth Festival, Visual arts

Visual Arts: Refuge

12 Feb – 18 May @ John Curtin Gallery ·
Presented by Angelica Mesiti & Candice Breitz ·

Two of the world’s leading audio-visual artists give voice to the world’s
immigrants and refugees in these emotionally engaging new video installations.
Acclaimed at the 2017 Venice Biennale, South-African artist Candice Breitz’
s Love Story features Hollywood stars Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin.
Their compelling performances bring to life the deeply personal experiences
of refugees who’ve fled their countries in desperate circumstances.

Australian artist Angelica Mesiti’s latest work also offers unusual insight
into the immigrant experience. It is a melancholic journey into the song
and music of diverse communities living in the Danish city of Aarhus.
Exquisitely captured with the artist’s characteristically dream-like nuance,
Mother Tongue reveals the role of music in defining and retaining cultural
identity and tradition. Angelica Mesiti is Australia’s representative artist
at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Curated in association with Chris Malcolm, Director, Curtin Gallery.
Presented in association with the John Curtin Gallery
Monday – Friday 11am–5pm
16, 23 Feb & 2 Mar 12pm-4pm
Sunday 12pm-4pm

Free Entry

More info:
https://www.perthfestival.com.au/event/refuge

 

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Love Displaced
Calendar, Perth Festival, Visual arts

Visual Arts: Love, Displaced

9 Feb – 18 May @ Lawrence Wilson Arts Gallery ·
Presented in association with Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery ·

In the 21st century, feelings of love and empathy are filtered through
social media platforms and 24-hour news cycles. The film-based and video
art in Love, Displaced offers new and innovative modes of navigating
the white noise of contemporary life towards places of re-sensitisation
and emotional engagement. Works in the exhibition provide insights into
personal and political situations of displacement caused by family
breakdown, racial or political oppression and the loss of traditional culture.

The exhibition brings together some of the world’s leading contemporary
artists: Jacobus Capone (WA), Richard Lewer (NZ), Tracey Moffatt &
Gary Hillberg (Australia), Christian Thompson (Australia) AES+F (Russia),
Jeremy Deller & Cecilia Bengolea (UK, Argentina/France) and Roee Rosen (Israel).

Tuesdays–Saturdays 11am–5pm
Sunday 10 & 24 February 11am-5pm

Free entry

More info:
https://www.perthfestival.com.au/event/love-displaced

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A Dark and Quiet Place
Calendar, Perth Festival, Photography, Visual arts

Visual Arts: A Dark and Quiet Place

7 Feb – 24 Mar @ Fremantle Arts Centre ·
Presented by David Noonan ·

London-based artist David Noonan has made his name internationally as
an assembler of black and white photographic images. Collected from
found books and periodicals, the images are juxtaposed, edited and
collated to conjure a range of possible narratives.

For his first exhibition in Western Australia Noonan has created an
immersive installation that invites viewers into an atmospheric
‘dark and quiet place’. Bringing together in dialogue major new
works rendered in film and tapestry, this strangely cinematic and
poetic world offers a meditative space of wonder and intrigue.
Presented in association with Fremantle Arts Centre

Free Entry

More info:
www.perthfestival.com.au/event/dark-quiet-place

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