Street Arts fest gets a little wild

Puppet show Boodjar takes you deep into the earth’s core.

AFTER a two year Covid absence, the Fremantle street arts festival is back this Easter weekend with a wildlife twist.

Get ready for the port city to become Wild Freo for three days as the streets and parks are awash with animal-inspired theatre, puppetry, dance, design, illustration, animation and sculpture.

The city’s festival coordinator Sarah Wilkinson said Wild Freo will feature works that reflect on how humans are threatening native animal habitats and inspire hope and positive change.

“Wild Freo is a conscious commitment to produce festival works created by local artists that enliven and engage us to reflect on our role in building a better future,” she says.

“Our artists reflect on how different our urban spaces were during lockdowns, when animals reclaimed spaces that human activity had pushed them out of.

“Maybe the disruption shouldn’t mean we go back to the way it was before – this is a time to reflect on how humans impact the natural environment and animal habitats and create change through art.” Highlights include Boodjar, a multi-sensory puppet-based show that takes you deep into the earth’s core and features creations inspired by the work of international conservation zoos.

The company behind the show, Erth Visual and Physica, has been wowing audiences for 30 years with their innovative, ground-breaking performances and promises to “lead you into the living underworld for an encounter with the seldom seen”.

Down at Bather’s Beach, the recently upgraded Whaler’s Tunnel will take centre stage in Observing Stone, an installation where hundreds of bird and reptile “LED eyes” stare at you from the dark, eerie depths of the tunnel. 

Including everything from pythons and parrots to bobtails and blue wrens, the atmospheric light show will be accompanied by an immersive soundtrack by Envelope Audio.

Keeping on the theme of whales, there’s an amazing installation at Esplanade Reserve called Deeper Shade of Blue – featuring a life-size blue whale pod migrating in artistic layers and waves.

The thought-provoking artwork was created by Wardandi Noongar and Ait Koedhal multidisciplinary artists Tyrown Waigana and Field Design.

Deeper look

“The deeper you look, the more you’ll find,” Waigana says. “This experience is meant to create curiosity and reveal surprises.”

If you want to get away from it all and take stock, then head to the Old Customs House for A Particular Garden After – a collection of beautiful screen prints of plants, flowers, and birds projected onto soft flowing fabrics draped from the building’s high ceilings.

Created by Fremantle artist Angela Ferolla, the prints also include stop-motion animation with illusory animals appearing and disappearing amongst the fabrics.

“My work is a celebration of native flora and fauna,” Ferolla says.

“I hope my art will remind people of nature’s beauty – to pause and look in detail and be reminded of our role to look after it.”

Featured WA artists include Bryan Woltjen, Daley Rangi, Ella Hetherington, Jenessa King and Joe Leach.

For the full list of events and bookings go to streetartsfestival.com.au.

Wild Freo is on Saturday April 16 – Monday April 18.

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