Returning to Western Australia’s capital, from 9 February to 3 March, Perth Festival brings a range of art, performances, and activities to the city – this year, under the theme of ‘Ngaangk’ – our star, the sun and also the Noongar term for mother.
Ideas of light and perception punctuate this year’s visual arts program. Across galleries and site-specific projects, artists ask audiences to consider sustainability, growth and nourishment, and the tension between heat’s creative and destructive power. From an empty shopping arcade transformed into an otherworldly realm to intimate glass works illuminating a catastrophic global narrative, artists look outwards and deep within to bring challenging human stories into the direct light of day and acknowledge Ngaangk’s effect on the natural environment.
Highlights include Wetland by Linda Tegg, who, working with Noongar elder Vivienne Hansen, uses a living plant installation to turn Carillon City’s basement food court into an expansive wetland. The disused space of Carillon City also becomes an abstract timepiece with Rebecca Baumann’s intervention in Light Event. Engaging with ideas of temporality and permanence, Light Event changes and interacts with the space through the application of dichroic film on the iconic atrium window. The space shifts and changes with the movement of the sun, creating coloured shafts of light that flood the building and track the day. And at John Curtin Gallery, Robert Fielding and Susan Flavell individually explore their deep connection to place and the need to protect our environment. Both artists’ practices take discarded material to make hybrid creations, reminding us that we disregard country, nature and spirit at our own peril.