Divisive mural

Artist Sioux Tempestt jumps beside her controversial mural Photo by Sean Byford

A mural outside the Civic Hotel in Inglewood has divided the community with baffled locals venting their anger on Facebook.

The red and bright yellow paint on the hotel walls are part of the exhibition INNOMINATE by Mt Lawley artist Sioux Tempestt.

She finds “quiet beauty in the ugliness of the ordinary” and likes to showcase dimly-lit laneways, vacant trashed buildings and urban decay.

“Given the abstract, urban nature of the external artworks, I anticipated the art would draw criticism,” Tempestt says.

“Obviously art is subjective, there will always be a group who don’t like it. 

“Honestly though, I’m happy that my aim for the artwork to engage the community in a different art experience, offering an exposition at their local pub has proven successful. I’m glad to have created spirited conversation about public art!”

Using acrylic paint, aerosol, deconstructed paper, graphite and gaffa tape, Tempestt takes us on a chaotic and grimy tour of urban Perth.

Tempestt’s artwork Suburban Exposure.

The exhibition includes fragmented notes from Tempestt’s journal, compounding the sense of disconnection and broken thoughts.

“The brush strokes and mark making are energetic replicating the physicality I inject,” she says.

“This draws parallels with the physical nature of the documentation process where I jog, cycle and walk while investigating. 

“The ripping, painting and pasting is often somewhat frenetic. The works may appear chaotic, but I conceptualise content, layout and colours before starting a work.”

A mother of two, Tempestt has lived on and off in Mt Lawley for 20 years. 

She originally trained as a graphic designer before going on to explore multi-disciplinary art, holding seven solo and several group exhibitions.

Her talent didn’t go unnoticed and she was a finalist in the 2019 Perth Royal Art Prize and has been highly commended and shortlisted in various other WA art competitions.

Tempestt says she is inspired by artists like Stanley Donwood, Andy Warhol, Basquiat and Jackson Pollock.

“In my studio practice I use mixed media, acrylic and aerosol paints,” Tempestt says.

“I also explore the avenues of photography, digital compositions, video and more recently, music. 

“With my public artworks I’ve worked with exterior paint for large scale murals then wood and metal to create sculptural forms.”

As for the fuss over her latest work outside the hotel, Tempestt says “any conversation about art is positive”.

“There are definite community supporters of the work too plus those who, while it’s not to their taste, feel that the brightly coloured walls are an improvement on the bland beige.”

INNOMINATE is at the Inglewood Civic Hotel from May 29 to June 25, with a special opening night on May 28.

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