Location: Perth, Australia
Completion date: 2019
Public Art Agent
Public Art Agent
Media/ lighting design
Sohan Ariel Hayes
Functionally, this artwork physically acts as a permeable screen enabling passive surveillance yet it also discourages children running onto the road from the public open space adjacent. Stretching along almost 40 metres and over 2 metres high the design brief was to meet the functional requirements while creating artwork to visually enrich the space at close quarters or at traffic speed and to reflect a sense of place.
Located at the site of a former spinal ward and rehabilitation hospital, it celebrates extraordinary individuals, community history and identity. This artwork echoes the interwoven lives of the hospital staff and patient as each post echoes a tracking of life's trauma, setbacks, rehabilitation and resilience. Quotes from historical records by individuals are interspersed along the length.
Significant research was undertaken for the client by an independent body and this formed the creative direction. Further research was undertaken by the artists through the Post Polio Network (WA), and former nurse and author, Tessa Jupp to inform the selection of quotes to tell the striking stories of former patients and hospital staff. The proposal was approved by the client, PPN and landscape architect. Lighting the artwork was in collaboration with artist Sohan Ariel Hayes (not seen in images).
The former hospital was a world leader in Polio treatment and rehabilitation in its time and the work aimed to celebrate achievements, yet also acknowledge hardships. The colours refer to the signage colours of the various wards at the hospital as a mnemonic technique and reinforce the sense of place to this historical site.