Dark Swan

Kelsey Ashe Giambazi, Kristie Rowe, Will Axten, Genrefonix, Fran Rhodes, Ross Potter, Rebecca Dagnall, Ben Crappsley, Eva Fernandez, Anna Nazzari, Ray Costarella, Caitlin Cassidy, Sheree Dornan, Sharyn Egan

An exhibition exploring the brutal early days of the Swan Colony via an aesthetic of Australian Gothic Romanticism by contemporary visual artists - examining the real and imagined history, landscape, architecture and characters of Western Australia through art, film, costume and performance.

Interest in the Romantic Gothic is piqued in 2018 due to the 200th Anniversary of the seminal gothic novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, written in 1818. Shelley grew up in England as a sibling of Henry Willey Revelly, the architect of the Round House in Fremantle and early Swan Colonist. The pair grew up in an environment of the most significant philosophers, poets and intellectual liberalism of the Romantic Period, indicating the extraordinary influences and ideas that may have been present in the minds of the earliest colonists of WA.

Cutting edge and award-winning artists interpret WA’s brutal history of convict era penal colony and pioneering era of survival against all odds, unearthing Gothic/Romantic tales, bizarre characters and ghost stories from the Swan Colonies early years of establishment…

The four-week long program, in the moody interior of heritage-listed PS Art Space in Fremantle, provides a strong conceptual and atmospheric experience where performance, music, costume, visual arts and films are paced throughout the duration of the exhibition. Local characters, "ghosts" such as Moondyne Joe are brought to life, as are imaginings of local convict-era architecture; the Fremantle Prison, Roundhouse and patients at the Lunatic Asylum (Fremantle Arts Centre).

Curator and former Fremantle fashion designer, Kelsey Ashe Giambazi, after recently completing her PhD thesis in Art and the History of Dress at Curtin University, has bought together 10 visionary artists that share an interest in the Swan Colonies early years of establishment.

In a new shift toward the world of art, WA fashion design icon Ray Costarella will exhibit one of his Victoriana inspired gowns and demi-Couture designer Kristie Rowe will also be exhibiting her unique approach to sculptural and painted art forms in Dark Swan.

Award winning photographers Eva Fernandez, Anna Nazzari and Rebecca Dagnall’s new work will be on display, as will new paintings from Fran Rhodes, Sheree Dornan, Ben Crappsley and sell-out Fringe Festival performers Genrefonix will play for free on opening night. Favourite Fremantle artist Ross Potter will also be unveiling his newest large-scale graphite drawing.

This project is supported by the City of Fremantle and The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries WA

Download Catalogue