Element 27 Continues Public Art Program with Newly Commissioned Installation

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At Sentinel's flagship Build to Rent community, Element 27, a series of artworks by Perth-based artists were recently unveiled as part of the development’s arts program – which aims to celebrate local artists and makers, while engaging the resident community. Element 27 is part of Sentinel's Kinleaf portfolio and opened in Subiaco (Perth), WA in 2019.

Featured in the lobby of 12 Wunderlich Road, the vibrant and engaging array of artworks, by artists Sandra Black, Susan Flavell and Andrew Nicholls, are inspired by the history of the location, which was previously home to the Australian Fine China porcelain manufacturing factory (formerly known as H.L. Brisbane and Wunderlich Ltd., and the Calyx Porcelain and Paint Company). The artworks celebrate the buoyant aesthetic sensibility of the ceramics that were produced on the site for 85 years.

As Sentinel's Managing Director in Australia, Keith Lucas, observed "The Australian Fine China factory produced many unique and outstanding examples of Australian ceramic wares throughout its lifespan and it’s wonderful to be able to pay tribute to and thread some of this rich history back into the community. It’s also fantastic to have another opportunity to collaborate with and celebrate local Perth artists."

Artists at Element 27

Artists Sandra Black, Susan Flavell and Andrew Nicholls viewing the artwork installation in the lobby of 12 Wunderlich Road at Element 27

The unveiling of this unique series marks the third instalment of Element 27's arts program, which has previously drawn from the area’s porcelain manufacturing legacy. One of the driving concepts behind the development of the Kinleaf brand has been this concept of community engagement and respect for local legacies.

Australian artist and curator Andrew Nicholls said, "Sandra, Susan and I have all engaged with the legacy of Australian Fine China, Brisbane and Wunderlich, and Wembley Ware throughout our careers. We were very excited by the opportunity to return to this research and create a new collection of artworks to reflect its historical significance in a visually engaging way at Element 27."

In an earlier stage of the program, a large artwork projection titled "Porcelain: Changing Views" was created by local Perth artist Sohan Ariel Hayes. This artwork was also inspired by the cultural contributions of the Australian Fine China factory and was projected on one of the apartment buildings at Element 27 for residents and members of the local community to view at an evening event, accompanied by a custom-composed soundscape that was performed live and complimentary refreshments.

More recently, award-winning local Perth artist Ross Potter was welcomed to Element 27 for a six-month residency. Ross facilitated a number of workshops and open studio events for residents and the wider community during his time at the precinct.

A selection of the collection of artworks by Sandra Black, Susan Flavell and Andrew Nicholls can be viewed below.

Andrew Nicholls

Andrew Nicholls and his work, Mid-Century Cake Stand, 2023

Repurposed Wembley Ware and metal components, 53 x 23 x 28 cm

"This work comprises repurposed Wembley Ware ceramics created on this site between 1946-1961. Its comical appearance alludes to the highly-whimsical style of Wembley Ware, and its intentionally-ambiguous relationship to functionality; due to high taxes on purely decorative ceramics during the post-war era, many Wembley Ware designs were given a superficial purpose, (for example, as 'posy vases' or 'ashtrays'), despite being largely ornamental, so as to sit at a lower price point. Hence this work is a tiered 'cake stand' that would not actually be practical for cakes." Andrew Nicholls, 2023

Sandra Black

Sandra Black and her works:

Bennett's Mallee Vase, 2023

Slip-cast pink and white porcelain, clear glaze and recycled Australian Fine China decals by Philippa Nikulinsky, 38.5cm H x 10cm W

Candy Orchid Vase, 2023

Slip-cast yellow and white porcelain, clear glaze and recycled Australian Fine China decals by Philippa Nikulinsky, 32.4cm H x 10cm W

Donkey Orchid Vase, 2023

Slip-cast green and white porcelain, clear glaze & AFC recycled decals by Philippa Nikulinsky, 32.8cm H x 10cm W

"These vases are a homage to the colourful Wembley Ware range of mid-20th century homeware designs. The floral decals are a tribute to former Australian Fine China designer Phillipa Nikulinsky’s depictions of rare and endangered Western Australian wildflowers." Sandra Black, 2023

Susan Flavell

Susan Flavell and her work, Kookaburra on Plinth, 2023

Cardboard, paper, recycled drawings, MDF box, paint, assorted metal leaf, glue, satin varnish, 140 x 32.3 x 26 cm

Susan Flavell has created a mixed-media sculpture based on the iconic Wembley Ware Kookaburra Garden Ornament, and paying tribute to the many other Kookaburra-themed ceramics produced at this site throughout the twentieth century. These include the AB Webb-inspired Calyx Kookaburra dinner service from the early days of the factory during the 1920s, various mid-century Wembley Ware ashtrays, and the True Blue kookaburra plate produced by Australian Fine China during the early 2000s.

Flavell describes this sculpture as "An irreverent, humorous work that plays with ideas of monuments". It was created in response to her bronze Kookaburra sculpture (2003), commissioned for the Subi Centro precinct development, which sits at the end of Laurino Terrace, a five-minute walk from Element 27.

Factory Backstamps

Factory Backstamps, Sandra Black, Susan Flavell & Andrew Nicholls, 2023

Lightbox installation (mixed media), each 61 x 61 cm

The windows facing on to Darbon Crescent illuminate at night to reveal four of the most iconic backstamps that adorned ceramic homewares produced on this site throughout the 20th century, in the pastel tones synonymous with mid-20th century design. Calyx, Western Australia's first commercial ceramics range, was produced here from 1921-1938. However the factory struggled during the depression and second World War, until H.L. Brisbane and Wunderlich Ltd. purchased the site, renaming it Bristile China in 1945. Their iconic 'Wembley Ware' range of 'fancywares' dominated Australia's ceramics industry from 1946-1961, when the factory decided to shift its focus to vitrified crockery for the hospitality market. In 1992 the business rebranded again as Australian Fine China, operating from this site until its closure in 2006, when production shifted offshore.

All photography: Ammon Creative

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