‘The heart of Perth’: Swan River stories shared in new exhibition

Artist Laurel Nannup. Photo: Eva Fernandez.
Artist Laurel Nannup. Photo: Eva Fernandez.

FROM the Dreamtime to the present day, a new exhibition is exploring the stories of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River).

Combining artist Alan Muller’s paintings with Nyoongar works from the City of Perth’s Cultural Collection, ‘Tides: Swan River Stories’ opens next week as part of the Australian Heritage Festival.

Alan Muller’s Mooro Katta (Kings Park) after Garling 1827. Acrylic on canvas, 2017.

“My paintings depict the river and surrounding landscapes as Whadjuk Country before English settlement, and tell an ancient story of the Whadjuk people who managed the Perth coastal plain like a vast estate over many thousands of years,” Mr Muller said.

“Rivers are life. These paintings reimagine the physical, historic and spiritual heart of Perth.”

Artist Alan Muller. Photo: Gina Pickering.

The exhibition will also feature First Contact, a work on paper by Nyoongar printmaker Laurel Nannup, depicting the arrival of Europeans to Australia.

“Seeing the boats arriving, the Nyoongar people would have thought it was the ancestors coming from the sea back to shore,” she said.

The artwork was transformed into a five metre tall aluminium sculpture in Elizabeth Quay back in 2016.

First Contact, a five metre tall, cast aluminium artwork by renowned indigenous artist Laurel Nannup. You can see it at the William Street landing in Elizabeth Quay. Photo: MRA.

The City of Perth is the custodian of a number of significant historical and contemporary collections of art, artefacts and reference materials, with Aboriginal people and their stories integral to the collections.

“Collaborating with the traditional owners has helped the City to learn about the history and culture of Aboriginal peoples as we strive for the common goal of reconciliation,” Chair Commissioner Eric Lumsden said.

‘Tides: Swan River Stories’ opens on May 18 on the ground floor of Council House, and will be open every day until May 19, including weekends and public holidays.

Following this, the exhibition will continue weekdays until June 21.

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