Art in plein site

Street artist Lady Bananas with National Storage manager Justin Cant and councillor Adin Lang.

A NEW creative space for local graffiti artists has launched in North Fremantle, aiming to highlight the diversity within the local art scene.

Plein Air 2.0 is a large-scale painting project giving artists free rein to cover a wall on National Storage’s warehouse in North Fremantle without being hassled by police.

Plein Air Arts mediator and local artist Lady Bananas said the initiative is run by artists, for artists. 

Artists have to get a permit, then the only rule is “don’t cap what you can’t burn”, or in other words, don’t paint over someone’s work unless you can do better. Professional and emerging artists are encouraged to contribute to the mural.

“The aim of the Plein Air Project is to allow artists freedom of expression to create within their art form,” she said.

Lady Bananas says gentrification of the Perth art scene is an issue as street artists “don’t get the option to express themselves on a large scale” like established artists.

Giving artists opportunities like the North Freo wall “is a huge deal and a huge social change,” she said. 

The project comes after the success of the Plein Air Arts 2019 trial in Fremantle’s Westgate Mall. In just under 12 months, over 200 local artists contributed to a revolving wall behind Target, with the support of building owners Silverleaf Investments and Yolk Property Group.

“Projects like this work because the respect is mutual for all parties,” Lady Bananas said.

But with the mall undergoing a transformation, the wall is disappearing and a new canvas was needed to keep the initiative going.

The initiative is supported by Fremantle councillor Adin Lang, who said the wall had been a “no man’s land” that “needs something happening in it”.

“Art like this would help bring something beautiful to people,” he said. 

National Storage operations manager Justin Cant said after being approached about the project, he was looking at the wall while coming back from the footy on the train and realised it was an opportunity to engage with the community through an interesting gallery at the entrance to Freo, so he signed up.

Police and the council’s rangers have agreed not to target the area, Lady Bananas said.  

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