Bathers ablaze

SCULPTURES at Bathers will go out in a blaze of glory on Sunday night when an exhibit featuring 35 jarrah trees is torched on the foreshore.

It’s a fitting tribute to mark the end of the fantastic exhibition, which started with a sparkling launch at Kidogo and is going out in a roar of flames.

Beached Trees is local artist Bruce Abbott’s contribution to the exhibition, and over the past two weeks beach goers have been soaking up their peaceful energy and shade.

• Artist and balga guru Bruce Abbott

The burning is part of a smoking ceremony: “A new contemporary ceremony that indigenous and non-indigenous can participate in,” he says.

Aboriginal elder Noel Nannup will narrate, while Karla Hart, Della Rae and Will Hayward lead Nyoongar dancers on the sands.

Dr Nannup was part of the creative team behind PIAF’s spectacular opening Boorna Waanginy…The Trees Speak, at Kings Park last month.

He’s calling the Fremantle ceremony Wardarn Barindji, which translates to “cleansing gentle breeze”.

Working on the “romantic” notion that the shoreline in front of the Round House is where the first “white fellas” stepped ashore, it’s a symbolic gesture of healing and a connection.

“Bathers Beach has an incredibly rich history, both indigenous and settler, and it still holds all those stories,” Mr Abbott says.

“Fire has traditionally been used as a purifying tool.

“[The goal of the ceremony] is to connect deeply with the history of this place, to feel that history, all of it, and then let it all go with the fire.”

The free event starts at 6pm this Sunday (March 12).

by JENNY D’ANGER

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