Housing supporting public art

Ian Strange outside house being painted black
​Ian Strange outside the project

FORM has form for creating excellence in creativity that goes all the way back to 1968.
The independent, non-profit cultural organisation sees creativity as a catalyst for positive change, and believes that the best, most vibrant places to live are the ones that nurture dynamic creativity, showcase cultural diversity, insist on quality, and are shaped with people in mind.

In 2014 FORM transformed the walls of some of the Department's public housing properties on Wellington Street and on Hampton Road Fremantle as part of its celebration of urban art. This year the Department loaned FORM some vacated, scheduled-for-disposal rental properties in White Gum Valley as 'canvasses' to renowned New York based visual artist Ian Strange.

FORM's activities include high-level artist development and exhibitions, place-making and strategy, social and multicultural engagement, cultural infrastructure development, Aboriginal cultural maintenance, research, and advocacy. FORM has also organised and curated PUBLIC 2015, a series of events, exhibitions, forums and interventions that ‘bring together compelling creative practitioners to engage and interact with the broader Westerns Australian community.'

PUBLIC 2015 which runs from 10-26 April has involved local, interstate and international artists who have gathered in Perth to transform a cluster of distinctive urban neighbourhoods along with some of Western Australia’s most evocative regional landscapes. Victoria Park, Leederville, Fremantle, Claremont, Northbridge, Perth CBD, the Wheatbelt and the Pilbara are hosting a range of extraordinary artistic talent.

Housing firmly believes in the value of public art due to its accessibility and the enrichment it provides to cities. As a property developer and through our joint ventures, Housing ensures that public art is part of our major development projects.

One of Housing’s artistic employees, Marielle Flood, has successfully submitted some of her work for inclusion in PUBLIC 2015 Salon.

“Fellow urban artist Michael Shime and I were working on painting a large wall in Victoria Park but we'd reached an impasse as we couldn't get a scissor lift to reach the top of the wall. FORM has offered their support in finishing this wall and is promoting it as part of the PUBLIC program,” Marielle said.

Regarding what was done with Housing’s vacant properties in White Gum Valley, the story is strange. That’s Strange as in Ian Strange, a New York based, Australian artist whose work investigates the home as a social and psychological construct, as well as broader themes of disenfranchisement within the built environment. His practice includes painting, film, photography, sculpture, installation and site-specific interventions.

When the artist's 'people' approached Housing’s Acquisitions and Redevelopment team at South Metro Region- looking for a suitable canvas for a site-specific-intervention, he struck gold and was offered a house which had reached the end of its useful life cycle.

Using a mobile crane and a high pressure paint gun, Ian (and his team of about a dozen assistants) proceeded to paint most of the exterior of the house black.

When this had been completed a videographer and photographer captured the images that will comprise the finished piece of art.

“Over the past six years, my work has investigated the iconography surrounding the family home and suburbia, and its unique place within current social, economic and cultural environments,” Ian told Snapshots as we stood in the shade of ‘Shadow’ his PUBLIC 2015 project in White Gum Valley.

The project went very smoothly and staff at Housing who had been involved with the project were praised and thanked for their efficiency, willingness to help and spirit of collaboration.

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