Curtin Uni - Murals, Sculptures, Gardens and so much more!
We have wandered around the University of WA in Crawley and the Edith Cowan University campuses in Joondalup and Mt Lawley and enjoyed discovering public art works and other interesting things so when we saw a map for a campus treasures map for Curtin University we took that as a sign to go and explore.
The thing with universities is that they are not set out in a grid so any exploration requires either a very good map or a great deal of luck. We set off to follow the treasures map but immediately realised that Curtin Uni has so much more to discover than what was marked on the map! So we just followed our feet, occasionally referring to the map to get our bearings.
The only way I could organise over 200 photos to reflect this adventure is to categorise them. The map at the end of this post reflects a very general route that we walked and the Public Art Map will give a location for individual artworks so that you can find those but otherwise just enjoy meandering around and discovering things. Or find out more at http://venues.curtin.edu.au/campus/public-art.cfm
Banksia Menziesii by Amok Island is an interpretation of the Firewood Banksia that grows within the campus. To The Desert by Tellas reflects the Australian landscape at the Pinnacles, radiating from coastal greens to the yellow of the desert - from wet to dry. Create Your Door by Hayley Wells features Hayley's signature creatures - this one is feeling insecure about it's future but community spirit shines through in the script.
I wasn't able to identify the black target mural. Upwards Descent by Add Fuel reflects our diverse wildlife stencilled into a mural reminiscent of Portugese azulejo. Bridges by Karim Jabbari uses rose gold calligraphy reading “A crow cries and the world unrolls like a blanket” - the first verse of the poem Landscapes by Randolph Stow. He has another work elsewhere on campus called You Are The World where he is standing on a bus wreck, which we missed.
Wide Open Road by Jessee Lee Johns depicts a rural service station that allows us to move freely around the country, to go on road trips and access the sense of freedom which Jessee describes as symbolic of what it means to be Australian - surrounded by space and unlimited opportunity on the country roads of WA.
Limits by Borondo is a multi level mural with a hidden message. The Truth Stops Every Conversation by Stormie Mills was inspired by space and technology but also reflects loneliness. Jae Criddle's Untitled work depicts a crowd of misshapen characters walking in different directions, going about their business. Each character is unique with their own funny bumpy body, facial expression and strange way of moving. I couldn't identify the bird mural.
The alleyway alongside the Education Union building is completely covered in a delightful aquatic mural by Melski.
Other Murals and Artwork
As we wandered around we would find murals in all sort of odd nooks and crannies along with more obviously placed artworks. The beautification of everyday objects like pipes, roads, staircases and containers enforces the feeling that art and creativity is valued and fostered at this campus.
Hense’s Untitled work (bottom left and right) with large abstract lines, shapes and organic forms was his first mural painted on a ceiling.
At one building we came to an outdoor gallery featuring student art. It was a very colourful and thought provoking display.
Cyclops by Howard Taylor is fittingly located outside the architecture building (201) as in Greek and Roman mythology the Cyclops were a race of single-eyed giants, often portrayed as builders and craftsmen.
Three Figures by Curtin graduate Leon Kalamaris (bottom left and centre right) reflects the geometric patterns and fluted concrete background of the nearby Building 401. The piano bench sculpture was my favourite!
Loco Form (top centre) is by Curtin Graduate Lou Lambert. Seedlings (top right) by Robert Juniper is located outside Building 405 and mimics the shapes of leaf shadows on the ground. The sculpture’s plates are designed to move and sway in the breeze and the sculpture holds a time capsule within it. Way Through (bottom right) by Howard Taylor was inspired by the internal structure of a decaying tree after it had fallen to the ground and is a memorial to the cycle of nature and the passing of time.
The title Mardarburdar Alignment (II) (below) relates to the alignment between Mardarburdar Hill, north-east of Perth and a nearby spring that is one of the only known sources of fresh water in the area and is also a significant Aboriginal site. Created by David Jones this sculpture and water feature ponders the relationship between humans and nature. The sculpture features many parts all drawn from nature (a spiral, dome, pools and rock formations) that are all connected, above and below the ground, by water. A male figure silently surveys the different elements from beneath the trees, underscoring our physical reliance on water and its role in advancing technology and human civilisation.
Elder Dr Noel Nannup collaborated with Curtin University to communicate the story of the Indigenous song lines which run throughout the campus with visible markers and landscaping. The two song lines that traverse across the campus, the Kujal Kela (Twin Dolphin) and Djiridji (Zamia), respond to energy flow or energy lines that are connected to and follow the historic underground and surface water flows which support life.
The Noongar Six Seasons are also explained.
Everywhere there are nooks and crannies which instead of being wasted spaces come alive with greenery, artworks and quirky bits and pieces like gnomes at the Hammock Hotel...
giant chess pieces...
basketball hoops and other games at the Snookball Stadium...
and tucked away is Platform 9 3/4!
There are interesting and colourful seating arrangements in various spaces inviting you to sit and study, catch up on socials, enjoy a bit of shut eye, play games or have a chat...
Many of these have been highlighted in previous photos. We were surrounded by beautiful gardens everywhere we went and we enjoyed finding the cactus garden and the edible garden...
the musical garden...
and the tropical Malay garden.
There were so many beautiful mature trees around the campus. Many were labelled so we could identify them like the Royal Poinciana, Illawarra Flame, White Bougainvillea and White Jacaranda.
We came away from this walk with the feeling that Curtin University fosters creativity, respects tradition and thrives on creativity. I think this is probably my favourite university campus as it feels warm, welcoming, green yet colourful and very, very creative!
In the end we spent a very enjoyable hour and a half wandering around the campus and even so we were unable to locate some of the treasures, including the koi ponds. You can also look for Pokemon, geocaches and rocks on campus - something to keep the kids engaged while you admire the artworks and architecture! There is apparently also a Nature Play WA Curtin Nature Trail accessed through the Nature Play WA app which is now the Play Trails app however we were unsuccessful in finding it.
We chose to walk around the grounds on a Saturday and while there were people around it was generally quiet. The disadvantage is that none of the facilities are open but the Gallery toilet is usually open on weekends. Parking restrictions may apply when the university is in session.
The Hidden Treasures map can be downloaded here.
We also found the Curtin Soundcloud self guided tour of public art and gardens map online (after completing our walk) which you can download here. It is still a very busy map to follow but links provide audio descriptions of the artworks and gardens which would have been handy although it would have taken us much longer to get around!
If you have kids in tow why not take them to Collier Park Golf Course just up the road. They sell refreshments and you can play 18 holes on their lovely shaded mini golf course.
To read more blogs go to:
For blogs on urban art, mural and sculpture trails all over Perth head to my indexed blog
In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.