On Tuesday, 28 November, in the foyer of Walyalup Civic Centre, Fremantle, Southwell Primary School’s Whole School Historical Art Exhibition opened to the public. And what an exhibition it was.
Aunty Nicole Jetta conducted a Welcome to Country, actor and director Bruce Denny read Sally Morgan’s The Proud Goanna story, Freo Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge welcomed everyone to Freo, and the representative of Simone McGurk MLA, Member for Fremantle and Minister for Training, Water and Youth, on her boss’s behalf as the Minister was detained by Parliamentary business on the day, officially opened the exhibition.
This project was made possible through the State Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) Creativity for School’s Program and was one of just three projects in WA to receive funding in the Residency: Grants of up to $20,000 category.
Over the last semester, students worked with Artist-in-Residence, Kaitlyn Elsegood to create a body of work in response to the lesser known histories of Fremantle and Cockburn.
As well as learning in the classroom. Students visited local historical site Manning Park and learnt from City of Cockburn’s Historical Society about when the park was a camel quarantine station and of the contributions the cameleers made during the goldrush era.
They explored the museum collection housed in Azelia Ley’s former homestead viewing the fashion, technologies and decor of the time.
Other stories learnt over the project include the contributions of the early Chinese market gardeners, in spite of racial vilification from attitudes deriving from the White Australia Policy and other prejudices.
They also learned about Tommy Dower, a Noongar activist who took it upon himself to petition Queen Victoria about the inhumane treatment being experienced by WA’s first people.
Here’s a gallery of some of the action on the day and highlights of the exhibition.
Congrats to the artists and Kaitlyn Elsegood. A wonderful project and exhibition!
* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News
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