WATER is essential for life, but for some it can be terrifying.
Many can’t go past their daily swim at the beach, while others have experienced trauma in the ocean, triggering aquaphobia and even anxiety about taking a daily bath or shower.
For Fremantle creative Will Ek Uvelius, originally from Sweden, water is a source of comfort and wellbeing.
“I have always found myself living in and around water and have for a very long time been curious about its effects on us individuals and as a community,” he says.“Personally, I have gone through periods of anxiety and water, and the submersion into water, has always helped me.
“The practice of swimming and cold bathing is something that I have grown up with but almost taken for granted. In my adult years I have started to consider it more than just a habit and also a mindfulness practice. It’s as if the non-breathing element of being in the water unlocks the potential to breathe.”
Uvelius was so fascinated with water he decided to curate the Fremantle exhibition Hydrosomatic Experiences with 17 local and international artists having their say on H2O via video installations, audio, photography, poetry and architecture. Appropriately, the exhibition is being held at the old Naval Store on Queen Victoria Street.
For the exhibition, White Gum Valley printmaker Nina Juniper created the huge immersive light projection Suface Tension, depicting the effervescent churn below a waterfall on Menang Country in southern WA.
“It is a slow and contemplative work depicting an abstracted representation of water that is slowly moving and distorting,” Juniper says. “The interplay between light and shadow is in continual motion, capturing the materiality of water.”
Juniper recently moved back to Freo after living in Sydney for six years and South Australia for two.
Another exhibition highlight is the stunning international collaboration Weather Inside Out which combines ice sculpture and photography with mysterious footage of women on a beach just outside Barcelona.
The artists’ description of their work is suitably recondite: “With time, the body started to transform and got taken into the landscape.
“Or the opposite, maybe this was the landscape that disappears to be substituted with a new moving landscape of the human body?
“New frozen landscape of the body, which came to the foreground, because in the end, the body was not in human hands anymore, it was controlled by the natural forces of the landscape. The pace and directions of our movement were directed by the hydrosomatic experiences.”
Uvelius, 33, is a freelance creative specialising in graphic design and has an artist’s studio at the Naval Store.
Last year the circa 1935 building was refurbed with studios and co-working spaces and has become a unqiue industrial venue for exhibitions, gigs and events.
Hydrosomatic Experiences is the first major exhibition Uvelius has curated in Australia; successfully attracting artists from countries including Denmark, Spain, Poland, USA and Canada.
“The exhibition represents a journey of introspection and contemplation, inviting the community to immerse themselves in the narratives that this project has woven,” Uvelius says.
“Water and wellbeing have been a topic close to my heart for a long time, and this exhibition provides a poetic platform to delve into and share these deeply personal connections.”
Hydrosomatic Experiences is at the Naval Store in Fremantle from May 5 – 8.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK