Six Seasons

4+

Client: Stan & Jean Perron Child Advocacy Centre

Location: Perth, Australia

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Independent Visual Artist

Paula Hart

Independent Visual Artist

Public Arts Consultant

Helen Curtis

APPARATUS Public Art + Cultural Services

Client

Parkerville: Children & Youth Care

Architect

Peter Hunt Architects

Industry Resource

Graham Dawe

Kanyana Engineering Pty Ltd

Industry Resource

Interpon Australia

Industry Resource

Canning Vale Powder Coating

Indigenous Advisor

Karen Jacobs

Overview

Western Australian artist Paula Hart created Six Seasons for the Stan and Jean Perron Child Advocacy Centre, which houses multiple children’s services.

As a new building built within the Midland Railway yards the building design echoed the old buildings with 6 large openings, which perfectly suited a series of 6 large artwork screens. The screens are each 5600mm x 4400mm and comprised of 8 x 5mm aluminum laser cut panels, telling a reinterpreted story of the Noongah Six Seasons. The works are powder coated with Interpon D2525 to depict the colours of the seasons. The artwork screens are airflow for the multistory carpark and address all Australian Building Codes for airflow, wind load, pressure etc. The designs are unique in that they are highly pictorial and participatory, utilising children’s drawings. The artist is not indigenous, but sought to build the connections between young people’s lives, the natural environment and indigenous traditions.

Goals

In the south west of Australia, the Noongar seasonal calendar includes six different seasons in a yearly cycle. These are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang. Each of the six seasons represents and explains the seasonal changes we see annually. The different weather patterns, plants flowering and the behaviours of animals are indicators that the seasons are changing.

An awareness of the changes around us and the inherent beauty of observation is a critical skill and creates connections to our built and natural environment. So, what do local children today observe about how life around us changes with the seasons?

The artist asked children to think about what we wear, what we eat and how we play. Making the connection between the swooping magpies, the end of the footy season and athletics carnivals. As animals bunker down for the cold, so do we. The observation that “grandmas always buy us warm pyjamas and slippers at Easter instead of chocolate to get ready for the cold”. Some kids looked forward to Chinese New Year, while others couldn’t wait for the Royal Show.


Process

From these talks with children, Paula created a list of contemporary images that combined with a list of local native plants and animals. She guided the students at Highgate Primary, Matthew Gibney Catholic Primary and Parkerville through a step by step process. Instructing, drawing, stopping, listening, drawing again. The children tried some tricky tasks such as drawing themselves sitting cross-legged. Each class had a theme and kids drew what they related to most.

Then followed the long and thorough task of taking all these beautiful individual drawings and combining them into the six artworks. With a long history of working with children’s artwork, it is vitally important to Paula to keep the integrity of the original as close as possible, avoiding editing, censoring or neatening up.

Paula worked with the arts coordinator, architect, indigenous advisor and client, and oversaw the team of engineer, laser cutter, powder coater, installer and builder.

Additional Information

Community projects are interesting in the way they reflect a community. Each individual adds his or her own little piece of the story and you can never quite predict how the story will unfold. This project is not a true guide to the Noongah seasons, but rather an exciting and often hilarious vision of our human connection to the natural environment, as seen through the eyes of some very unique young Western Australians.