PEELING BACK THE LAYERS, 2017-
2019

Facade fins for Bob Hawke College, Subiaco WA 

Percent for Art commission for the Department of Finance

FinsAluminium 
10m h x 37m w x .5m deep, and
10m h x 10m w x .5m deep.

 

Third image courtesy of Australian Museum, by T. Dick c 1914. 

These two integrated artworks aim to connect landscape, community memory and users to create artworks for all. Located on the school building facades, it is sited partly on the former Subiaco Oval site; the former Western Australian home of AFL and is adjacent to Mueller Park. This site bears significant community sporting memories and connection to the pre-colonial landscape evidenced in the mature Melaleucas (Paperbarks) close by and the scarred tree opposite at Mueller Park. The artwork seeks to celebrate the site’s history while acknowledging its future as a place of learning.  

The facade fins formally echo the texture and peeling quality of the paperbark tree surface. These fins; layered, complex and peeling open, can be viewed as a metaphor for knowledge generation, that is, the stripping back of the superficial to investigate deeper and gain knowledge or the layering and complexity of knowledge. 

Text is featured within the brickwork and in the fin perforations which is intentionally open to interpretation and visually subtle. This encourages the onlooker to discover and develop their own narrative and meaning. Words appear to take their cue from its football past, yet equally, appear to reference the present learning environment or the fact it is on Aboriginal land. Do these words exclusively reference Noongar history, football, education or all collectively? Through the use of text, commonalities between communities and their narratives across time are now apparent, thereby connecting the community. 

The text was determined in collaboration with the Inner City College Advisory Group, a community-based group led by John Burke and in consultation with the Whadjuk Advisory Group.