PIAF feature-artwork gets wheels - Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
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PIAF feature-artwork gets wheels


One of the 2004 UWA Perth International Arts Festival's (PIAF) feature artworks, Ngurrara Canvas I (1996), has been transformed to decorate a Transperth Central Area Transit (CAT) bus.

Unveiled today by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Kimberley Minister Tom Stephens, the 'art on wheels' will be on the road for the next 12 months.

"It is great to see such artworks represented in such a creative way," Ms MacTiernan said.

"It is weaving art and culture into the very fabric of society - public transport plays such an integral part in our daily lives.

"With passenger satisfaction with Transperth's bus, train and ferry services reaching record levels in the past year, the Government is delivering on its commitment to provide safe, accessible and efficient public transport.

"Earlier this month I unveiled the first of a new generation of gas-powered Transperth buses - featuring the latest technology.

"Over the next seven years the State Government will take possession of 451 of the Euro 4 emission standard buses, further providing a clean, green public transport system."

Mr Stephens said the bus would serve as an ongoing reminder of the Kimberley's special role in this year's Perth International Arts Festival.

"The work of Kimberley artists was a special strength of this year's festival and highlighted Western Australia's rich indigenous cultural traditions," he said.

"At the same time, the festival's growing program of regional events - this year in the Kimberley, Great Southern and Goldfields Esperance regions - gave it an added strength and relevance."

Mr Stephens said there would be other benefits, too.

"Every time someone hops aboard this bus, or sees it passing, he or she will be thinking 'I should be up North'," he said.

"And they will be right. Even if they can't make a trip right there and then, for just a moment they can share that special feeling of freedom and wonder that is part of life in the North."

Perth International Arts Festival's artistic director Lindy Hume said when the festival concluded on Sunday, the two beautiful paintings would be packed away.

"I look forward to watching a wonderful reminder of 'Kimberley country' and the incredible art and culture from that region moving proudly around the streets of our city," Ms Hume said.

The 40sq.m Ngurrara Canvas I (1996), now privately owned here in Perth, is the older sister of an artwork twice this size - the so-called 'Big Painting' - which was used as a key document in the Ngurrara Native title claim of 1997.

The first canvas was superseded by the Ngurrara Canvas II (1997), as it was thought to more accurately represent the geography signified in Ngurrara Canvas I.

Reunited for the very first time since their creation, the canvases - and the Kimberley region itself - have featured as centrepieces of the 2004 Perth International Arts Festival.

Painted by about 50 inhabitants of the Great Sandy Desert, Ngurrara Canvas I has been exhibited in Melbourne, Darwin, San Francisco, Minnesota, Atlanta and Adelaide.

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