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April 03, 2014

Art in the City. Art in the Streets.

If you're unaware or if I haven't made it clear enough, I live in Perth.  Perth, Western Australia.  I grew up here, I've lived my entire life here.  For those of a certain age (what I'm trying to say is, my age) we know too well the feeling of our city never being good enough.  Never as cool as the cities out east.  It used to be that you'd want to leave Perth as soon as you could but it was definitely worth coming back as a "good place to raise a family."  What is that supposed to mean exactly? A good place to raise a family - in comparison to where?

Slowly things change. Progress can be a slow process. Over the last couple of years much has changed - and much has not.  I'm no fool. This is a lovely city, this is my city, but it's definitely not the uh, "easy, breezy, green and pristine...hipster heaven" that The New York Times recently labelled it to be. It is getting better though. It has become better. It continues getting better. Once upon a time artists wouldn't even bring their tours here, and now we have got one of the best entertainment venues in the world. Things definitely change.

Small bars, new restaurants, great cafes, designers taking up residence in our malls - it's kinda happening here in little ol' Perth. People would bemoan that Perth is boring, that there is nothing to do. Keep your ears clean, open your peepers really wide - there's a lot going on.

Something that I'm personally quite excited about are the numerous art events that are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.  If you follow Oyster & Pearl on Instagram you may have seen a couple of my recent postings.  A couple of weeks ago was the opening of the Nasty Goreng exhibition by artists The Yok and Sheryo. 

Photo taken from www.turnergalleries.com.au

 Right next to where I work there is a great piece painted by The Yok (which is comfortably neighboured near to a Stormie Mills creation), I'm sure you would have seen it perhaps while hopping around to Andaluz or Helvetica.  Just two of the many good small bars we have. You can still check out that exhibition at Turner Galleries until April 19.  By the way, don't you love the chandeliers hanging in Howard Lane? I love them.

One of my dodgy Instagram pics of Howard Lane.

Saturday night, that's April 5 if you're unsure, is the opening night of the APEX Group Exhibition at the Little Wing Corner Gallery.  This is something special with so many good artists and businesses getting behind this one, with proceeds from the art sales going to Conservation Council of Western Australia to help protect our shark friends. You know how I said Perth is getting better? Well, if you want me to put a dent in the Perth love fest, this dreadful shark culling will do it. Not to get political but it doesn't make much sense to me. We do have wonderful beaches that we like to enjoy for much of the year but it is somewhat logical to me that those waters are the natural home and habitat of various creatures, some of which include sharks and none of which include humans. I think the care and caution we need to take when deciding to swim in the ocean is not at all dissimilar to me choosing to travel to a country that I know may be dangerous or may require me to adhere to certain customs.

Photo taken from Little Wing Corner Gallery's Facebook page

APEX will run until April 12, and while I will no longer be able to attend on Saturday night as I had planned I do hope to get down there at some point especially as I have two friends who have their works being exhibited. 

I won't be able to get down there on Saturday because...I'm spending all day Saturday volunteering for the very awesome PUBLIC: Art in the City program that is running over nine days all over Perth.  The laneways and walls of the city are going to get some serious loving with murals, installations and projections from a number of local and international artists.  Over the course of these nine days will be so many different events you can be apart of and the good folk at Form have also put together a handy dandy map for you to also go exploring on your own.

Photo taken from www.form.net.au
Photo taken from Form's Facebook page

And if that's not enough, the Fremantle Street Arts Festival is running over the Easter long weekend. I hear there's going to be dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, come on.  Plus music, street theatre, cabaret and circus. How could you miss it?

Photo taken from Fremantle Street Arts Festival Facebook page

So there's nothing to do in Perth, right? All of these sort of events really excite me, and it's so good that we have people and organizations pushing to bring them to life. Just as important is that we all go out and support, participate and enjoy. When you have artists of the calibre as those involved in these various exhibitions and the PUBLIC program, that's a pretty big deal. Summer is now over, but don't festivals such as Fringe World and Perth International Arts Festival bring so much goodness to the city during that time of year? Don't you love seeing the city abuzz and having the opportunity to see some amazing talent live? There's a huge amount of work that goes into making all of that happen and it's so important that we don't let that work go unappreciated and to waste.

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