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Paula Hart – Broome Air Raid Sculptures

BEVIN Creative had the pleasure of supporting Perth artist Paula Hart and her production team to successfully execute a series of sculptural pieces commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Broome Air-Raid.

“The way the text was presented was as important an element as the figures and content. We were mindful we didn’t want an off-putting slab of text, but we also had such an extraordinary quantity of fabulous content. There was also the issue of feasibility of cutting out all these words. With BEVIN we explored all sorts of fonts and tried different layouts to best address all these demands. BEVIN were integral in us achieving a body of words that while heavy on the heart are easy on the eye, creating an ease of engagement for the audience to learn and appreciate the tangle of human stories behind the event.” Paula Hart

The Client

Paula Hart is a high calibre Perth based visual artist. Her practice has embraced public art, community murals, theatre commissions, festivals, and artist-in-residencies both in and outside of Australia.  Paula enjoys exploring stories of people, community, place and identity, with a driving commitment to create art employing processes of community participation to create artworks that build a sense of identity and will inspire & delight the community.

The Brief

The Shire of Broome commissioned Paula Hart and Broome local Chris Maher, to collaborate on the “Nine Zeros, Nine Stories” project which saw them create a series of sculptural pieces. The work aims to reveal the many perspectives of the Japanese attack on Broome, on 3 March 1942. It stands as a silent legacy to those who lost their lives, and the impact on this remote Australian community. Chris Maher gathered stories and yarns from behind the event from the local and wider community, whilst Paula explored photos and stories of Dutch, Japanese, Indigenous, military, white Australian and American people impacted by the events of that fateful day. The vision for the artists’ was to create nine Aluminium figures, each with a collection of historical and personal vignettes laser-cut into their bodies.

The Experience

The artists didn’t want to create an artwork which was interchangeable with any other setting or any other war memorial. The artwork needed to capture the essence of Broome – the intense heat, the remoteness, the multiculturalism – and the way the war that had spread from Europe had reached this far flung corner of the world. They also wanted to create an experience more engaging than reading plaques, which has been achieved in spades. At all hours of the day the works are surrounded by an audience lost in contemplation, really reading every one of the stories.

Moving Forward

The sculptures stand as a permanent feature in the Broome art trail, to tell the history and curiosity of the many perspectives of the Broome air raid story. It has been a treasure for us at BEVIN to be involved in helping deliver these sculptures into the landscape of Broome, for all locals and tourists to experience into the foreseeable future.

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Postal Address
PO Box 8239, Perth BC,
Western Australia, 6849