Port Coogee Indigenous art
Port Coogee, Western Australia
Stakeholders and partners: City of Cockburn, Hassell
Role of Artsource: Art consultants
Artists: Wendy Hayden, Deborah Bonar and Joanna Robertson known collectively as Kidogo Artist Team
Outcome: Implementation of an indigenous public artwork
Artwork budget: $152,363
Completion date: May 2013
Through an open tender Australand have commissioned a series of Indigenous artworks for Port Coogee, to describe the journey from fresh water to salt water. The Wetland system in the Cockburn area has always been an important region for the Nyungar people. Places in Cockburn such as Coogee have significance to Nyungar and additionally to other Aboriginal people from other parts of Australia, as part of the ancient trade routes.
The artwork brief asked for a response to the site. More importantly, it also encouraged the mentoring of younger and/or emerging artists to best encourage those who may not normally apply.
The Aboriginal Reference Group at the City of Cockburn nominated respected elder, Rev Sealin Garlett to share his thoughts on three shortlisted artists teams and significant cultural approvals were implemented before the contract was offered to the Kidogo Artist Team. Wendy Hayden, Deborah Bonar and Joanna Robertson’s concept, Beeliar Boodjar proposed the inclusion of replanted ancient grasstrees and seasonal stories printed on ground mounted glass panels. In total there are seven glass spheres measuring between 3-7 metres situated in three parks. Each panel has it’s own unique story.
These artworks are intended as places to meet. It’s symbolic of the heritage of the site and the belief that the grass trees are spirits of the people who once lived there.