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Storied ships and maritime mysteries at Wanneroo Gallery

Published Thursday, 27th February 2020

Wanneroo Gallery’s latest exhibition, Even Keel, mixes local history and maritime misadventure.

Even Keel, Wanneroo Gallery
Sculptors Matt Dickmann (left) and Tony Jones reassembled the restored ship at the Wanneroo Gallery, ahead of Even Keel’s official opening earlier this week.

On display at the Wanneroo Gallery from Monday 24 February, the Even Keel exhibition explores a raft of stories from the City of Wanneroo’s rich nautical past, including iconic shipwrecks in local lore such as the Alkimos wreck, changing recreational activities and the role of the crayfishing industry.

Sitting centre stage is a restored dragon-class ship from sculptor and avid sailor Tony Jones, who restored the historic craft in collaboration with fellow artist Matt Dickmann.

“The boat has a very distinguished history,” Mr Jones said. “It was built in Germany in 1955 and won a world title in Europe, before representing Germany during the Melbourne Olympic Games the following year.”

Following several decades Down Under – first in Adelaide and then at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Peppermint Grove – the ship faded from memory and was in a sorry state of disrepair when Mr Jones and Mr Dickmann undertook to restore and exhibit it during Even Keel.

“Wooden sailing craft in general are central to my being as an artist. Maritime pieces such as this inform a lot of the work we do; it’s how Matt and I met too,” Mr Jones said.

“The offer to participate in the Even Keel exhibition pricked up my ears. The restoration of this craft involved scrubbing the lovely teak deck, varnishing the Honduran mahogany exterior and generally tidying up the interior.”

Sections of the ship were carefully pieced back together ahead of Even Keel’s official opening earlier this week, and Mr Jones said he was proud to see the craft in one piece once again.

“To get up close to such a classic craft is a privileged perspective. She has stories to tell, memories to provoke and the imagination to excite,” he said.

Even Keel is now exhibiting at the Wanneroo Gallery until Thursday 9 April. The Wanneroo Gallery can be found upstairs at the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre. Opening times are 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

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