At nine metres high, 19 metres long and 66 tonnes, Rainbow is not your average public art piece. 


The sculpture, by prominent Perth artist Marcus Canning,constructed from nine recycled sea containers joined to form an arch went up yesterday afternoon at Beach Reserve adjacent to Canning Highway, overlooking the Swan River and the port.

The largest public art piece ever commissioned by the City of Fremantle, the $145,000 Rainbow is the jewel in the crown of more than 50 public art pieces throughout Fremantle, a city with a rich arts culture and well-known as a city for artists.

It was complex engineering feat and great to see so many people down to watch the the massive artwork will be pieced together by cranes one container at a time on-site yesterday.

It’s big, it’s bold and colourful and very Freo. Like all good pieces of art it will mean different things to different people. For me it represents a variety of things including Fremantle’s strong links to the sea, a celebration of Freo’s renowned arts and culture scene and also a strong statement of hope for greater diversity, tolerance and compassion in society.

Here is what artist Marcus Canning had to say:


Rainbow… In the words of the artist
Rainbow is a work that is 110% Freo, over-the-top fun and frivolous whilst remaining resonant and rich with deeper references, resplendent and radiant, brash and ballsy.

The work is a monumental welcome arch that speaks to the port environment over which it stands. These elements (sea container & rainbow) have strong associations with the history and character of Fremantle both in the historical and contemporary moment.

Containers are a ubiquitous element in the port environment and its surrounds and a direct symbol of the history of Fremantle as a commercial port from the deepening of the harbour by C. Y. O’Connor in 1897.

The rainbow is a symbol of many things including alternative and counter cultural hippy styles and aesthetics, a distinctive and ongoing element of the Freo character.

The rainbow is associated with dreams, flights of fancy and the escapism of fantasy.

It’s a universal symbol of hope as well as aspiration.

By slamming these seemingly incongruous elements together, the results speak volumes about the unique spirit of Freo as well as its character – big, bold and brutally beautiful. Colourful, creative and a little bit crazy. Super-sized playful on an industrial scale. Welcoming, whimsical and joyful. Undeniably and distinctively – Freo.

The work gives a nod to the ready-made as much as concrete art, pop art as much as minimalism, it also speaks to global economic as well as cultural concerns in the age of late capitalism.

It was the transportation entrepreneur Malcom McLean who revolutionized international trade in 1956 when he developed the intermodal shipping container, standardised the transportation of goods around the globe and ultimately lowered the cost of goods, everywhere – contributing more than any other single invention to the exponential explosion of globalised economy and world trade that was to roll out over the second half of the 20thC.

Rainbow is a new iconic entry statement for the portside City of Fremantle – visible from a range of major entry arteries – from the water, from the air, from rail as well as car. Its presence is as architectural as it is sculptural, awe inspiring for the pedestrian to engage with, a beacon of welcome that is instantly recognisable from afar.

Marcus Canning


About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

3 Responses to At nine metres high, 19 metres long and 66 tonnes, Rainbow is not your average public art piece. 

  1. Frank James says:

    How much reliefand comfort would $140,00 bring to the homless of Fremantle sleeping in the cold this winter ? Choicesof worth we make people or container art..

  2. propertyesp says:

    I love everything about this concept. Fremantle is about to undergo a transformation and it is exciting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: