THE Round House and Whalers Tunnel in Fremantle were designed by Henry Willey Reveley, who lived with Frankenstein author Mary Shelley and was like a brother to the author.
He also designed the 1836 Perth courthouse and was WA’s chief engineer from 1829-38.
Artist Kelsey Ashe Giambazi stumbled across the little-known Frankenstein link and decided to incorporate it into her latest exhibition, Dark Swan: Contemporary Tales of the Gothic Antipodes.
Shelley was raised as Reveley’s sibling following the death of her mother in childbirth.
“The pair grew up in an environment of the most significant philosophers, poets and intellectual liberalism of the Romantic Period; indicating the extraordinary influences and ideas that may have been present in the minds of the earliest colonists of WA,” Giambazi says.
Dark Swan is a mixed-media exhibition in which contemporary artists reimagine WA’s brutal, gothic past.
Like other works there’s a dark edge to Giambazi’s triptych of the old asylum (now the Fremantle Art Centre), the Round House and a huge raven.
Giambazi grew up in New Zealand and Tasmania, so WA was a bit of a shock to the system, “but the WA landscape has a kind of terrible beauty, that is parched and spiky, charcoaled and dusty…I identify with the sensations that early colonists may have experienced.
“The immense yearning to be in two places at once, missing home, missing family left behind over water.”
The exhibition includes work by former Fremantle fashionista Sheree Dornan (Tokyo Rose).
WA fashion stalwart Ray Costarella is exhibiting one of his Victorian-inspired designs, “which is as close as you get to a $15,000 couture gown,” Giambazi says.
Other exhibitors include photographers Eva Fernandez, Anna Nazzari and Rebecca Dagnall, along with Fran Rhodes, Ross Potter and designer Kristie Rowe.
Dark Swan: Contemporary Tales of the Gothic Antipodes is at Fremantle’s Pakenham Street Art Studio until October 5.
by JENNY D’ANGER