City of Fremantle’s Art Collection has been housed at the Fremantle Arts Centre (FAC) from 1973 following the first significant donation of forty-one Australian paintings by WA art philanthropist Sir Claude Hotchin in 1958. It gave the Collection exposure to a supportive audience and the impetus to accrue new works by local artists and craftspeople, many of whom were beginning to reside and work in the Port City.
The City has maintained its activity in purchasing artworks for the Collection, but it is through the principled way in which the Collection has conducted its relationships with artists and the community that laid the groundwork for attracting important bequests and a remarkable number of gifts and donations through the Commonwealth Cultural Gifts Program. Building upon the holding of Aboriginal Art about from Western Australia is a priority for the Collection. It provides a valuable opportunity to appreciate Aboriginal and Indigenous experiences and knowledge of Australian history. A number of Western Australian Aboriginal artists in the Collection represent insights into Fremantle (Walyalup), placing kinship and culture front and centre within a deep and abiding connection to the land.
The City of Fremantle Art Collection was established in 1958, and today numbers over 1500 artworks, majority of which are by WA and Fremantle based artists, constituting the largest local government art collection in WA.
The collection has artworks of historical and contemporary significance across all medias including substantial holdings of paintings by Kathleen O’ Connor and sculpture by Akio Makigawa in addition to representations of work by leading Fremantle artists. The collection has a significant holding of WA and Australian artist prints and artist books including award winning works from the Fremantle Print Award from 1976.The Collection has a significant holding of WA Aboriginal Art about Walyalup/Fremantle, a growing collection of WA Photography and substantial holding of Ceramics after 1973.
Over five decades, principally through the Collections relationship with the City of Fremantle and the ‘living studio’ of the FAC, the art collection has of over 1500 pieces including a representative mix of WA and Australian paintings, works on paper; primarily prints and photographs and a holding of Western Australian ceramics.
Today, the collection maintains a strong relevance to Fremantle artists and community, in the acquisition of artworks created by artists who live or work in Fremantle, or art which reflects or is inspired by activities in Fremantle. The collection also actively acquires works which build upon the strengths in its existing holdings of contemporary Western Australian art practice.
Many of the artworks in the collection both reflect and reveal Fremantle life; its people, work & industries, environment, cultures, politics, social rituals, conflicts and leisure time. It is through the work of its artists which are represented in the collection that audiences can find their own perspectives upon Fremantle and its people the place in which they live.
City of Fremantle Art Collection Gallery, Fremantle Arts Centre
1 Finnerty Street
1 Finnerty Street
Fremantle WA 6160
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