Perth Cow parade

Perth Cow Parade.

Wow! Summer heat hit today, and it’s been a scorcher – apparently the mercury hit 37 degrees.

But we were up early and out of the house because we were on a quest : To hunt down the cows that have descended onto the streets of Perth.

Cow Parade Perth

Moo’ving to the CBD

Because, from 31 October to 11 December 2016 the City of Perth is hosting the largest public art event in the world.

It’s also taking place in America – A lovely reader from my other blog,  Lifestyle Fifty, wrote to tell me that she’s been enjoying the same event (with different cows) in San Luis Obispo County.

Perth Cow Parade Perth Cow Parade

According to the official blurb: “Perth joins other major cities such as New York, Paris and Tokyo who have previously hosted CowParades across the globe. The cows arrived as blank canvases and have been crafted, sculpted, painted and reconstructed by some of Western Australia’s artist and hottest fashion designers. They’ll be exhibited throughout city malls, parks, iconic building and precincts with some being auctioned at the 2016 Lexus Ball for Telethon, raising money to support child health research.” Find out more about the Cow Parade as well as what’s on in the city by visiting The City of Perth Website.

Perth Cow Parade

There are 40 cows dotted around the CBD and Northbridge precinct with some at Elizabeth Quay, 2 at Claisebrook Cove, and also 6 community cows in the JH Abrahams Reserve at Crawley, which everyone can  help decorate.

In the 8 years we’ve been in WA, we’ve seen such a change in the Perth urban landscape, and the contemporary arts scene. And we LOVE it!

Perth Cow Parade

With the underground sinking of the rail lines to link Northbridge and the CBD, construction of Elizabeth Quay, the proliferation of street art in the form of giant murals, the restoration of heritage precincts into bustling hives of coffee shop, and bar activity, we can really see a push to bring to life the forgotten laneways of yesteryear – soon Perth will be able to challenge Melbourne  😉

Perth Cow Parade

But back to the cows. Perth’s an easy city to walk around, so armed with a map we spent 3 hours exploring and managed to see 20 out the 40 cows on show.

Perth Cow Parade

Perth Cow Parade

We love the idea of public art being accessible to the people. Placed in our built environment the juxtaposition of the art, the architecture and city scape provides an extension to the artist’s canvas, in this case, the cow.

We never miss going to sculptures by the sea at Cottesloe Beach each year, another wonderful interactive art project which is like an open air art gallery – not to be missed.

In the Perth Cow Parade, Dave’s favourite was a cow named Alice (not a town!) see below and above right.

Perth Cow Parade

Located in the Perth Cultural Precinct, near the State Library, the art by Lance Chadd is inspired by an Aboriginal stockman. The chocolate coloured cow presents an apt canvas to showcase the colours of northwest stock scenes, and the art suggests stories of adventure and stock runs under the big sky country up north.

My favourite was Garden Cow, by Megan Salmon, below, which you’ll find outside Cloisters on St George’s Terrace.

Perth Cow parade

This cow has been covered in a beautiful original digital fabric created especially and inspired by a mural from Pompeii (which appealed to me because we recently visited Pompeii on a Princess Cruise’s world cruise this year and the ancient murals there were fascinating).

Garden Cow is covered with greenery and birds, and the mural is hand sewn onto the cow. Growing from the cow’s horns are a myriad of antlers like trees or roots rising up from their garden beds.

Way back in 2010 we went to the Margaret River Cow Parade – it was such fun! You can read about that event in this post from the archives : Cow Parade Margaret River.

Challenging Questions

Two of the cows we saw in Perth posed challenging questions to us all regarding the relationships between man and domesticated beasts. Commodity Cow, by Lisa Dymond, located outside of His Majesty’s Theatre, below, is one example. Lisa’s inspiration is drawn from how we domesticate and control animals as a commodity. Walk around to the other side of this cow to see a defining and confronting object 😉

Perth Cow Parade

A Cow With No Name by Peter Ellis, at the Western End of St George’s Terrace, below is not to be missed. And the inspiration for this work is drawn directly from images of horses, dogs and donkeys that were used as beasts of burden during World War 1 and 2, and aims to encourage debate about the relationships between domesticated animals and their masters.

Perth Cow Parade

Cows in an urban setting

A number of these bovine beauties cleverly reflect their environment.

Bubble Gum Bessie, by Minaxi May, is a tasselled and tinselled beauty located under the striking wall mural at 140 off Wellington Street.

Cow Parade Perth

Palindrome, by Helen Smith, is a striking white cow with silver geometric stripes encircling its body which reflect the facade of the State Theatre beautifully – its silver steel rods hanging down dramatically from roof to floor forming blinds to the windows.

Cow Parade Perth

Pop Culture

As you walk up the lilac and yellow painted steps leaving Northbridge’s William Street to the Cultural precinct you’ll find a lilac and yellow painted ‘pop’ cow – the colours of the cow are reflected in the steps and it forms a great symmetry of city colour.

Cow Parade perth

Useful Resources

To find out what’s going on in Perth, what you can do for free, why it’s extraordinary, and all sorts of great stuff you might like :-

  1. Tourism WA  and  Perth City ‘What’s On
  2. MAPS of where to find the Cow Parade cows – are available on the Perth City website.

If you’d like some mini versions of Cow Parade cows to buy as gifts – then check these out – they’re so gorgeous! [easyazon_link keywords=”Cow Parade” locale=”US” tag=”souswawri-20″]Cow Parade[/easyazon_link] memorabilia and gifts. I think they’d make unusual and quirky presents for friends.

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  1. What fun! I would love to see an artists’ cow parade! I have seen painted buffalo (bison) in Custer, South Dakota and a wonderful Chihuahua (the dog kind) Parade in Chihuahua (the city) in Mexico. And an array of artist-designed Catrina figures in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. So cows would be a nice addition!

  2. What fun! Despite the heat, it looks like you had an amazing time walking around and finding many of the cows on exhibit. I, like you, have a terrific time when art is presented in public places and it becomes a quest to see what you can discover! I love the fact that the proceeds go to support research for children’s health and that the Cow Parade has gone international. A great time and a worthwhile cause! Anita

  3. Perth Cow Parade sounds fun, interesting and thought-provoking. I was in San Antonio, Texas many years ago when they had a similar exhibition going with brightly painted cow statues throughout the city. It was fun to come across the different statues as we explored the city.

  4. Hi Donna, it would be fun to try and go to every Cow Parade around the world! It makes you explore places, get off the beaten track, have a quest! The one you went to in San Antonio sounds wonderful too.

  5. I agree Anita, it’s the having a quest which makes it so much fun. Like you I also think it’s great that there can be a charitable side to the initiative too.

  6. Wow Donna, that’s a lot of quirkiness – love it! What fun the Chihuahua parade would be. So too the Catrina figures in Mexico. Yes, you’ll have to look out for a Cow Parade on your travels 🙂

  7. I love cows so know I would enjoy seeing the Perth Cow Parade. Hopefully I will one day. I have seen similar exhibits featuring alligators in Louisiana and hearts in San Francisco.

  8. Street art and murals are a wonderful addition to any city, and hunting down entries in the Cow Parade sounds like a fun way to explore Perth.

  9. We have seen cows like these in Buenos Aires. They are always fun to look at and you can buy mini ones just like Perth. As for Perth giving Melbourne a run for its money. We have just got back from Perth and we are in Melbourne now for a few days. We live in Sydney. Melbourne has its attractions but Perth is streets ahead. Were it not so far away from our adult children we would move there tomorrow.

  10. Hi Julie, yes, it’s having something to hunt down, a treasure to find at the end of a walk, that’s important, isn’t it!

  11. Hi Lyn, well that’s lovely to hear! Thanks for your uplifting words. Yay, go Perth 🙂

  12. Kristin Henning

    This cow parade reminds me of the Peanuts (comic strip) characters that pepper my hometown in Minnesota. But the cows are more pure fun. Love the cown parade of public art in Perth.

  13. What a fabulous project to find in Perth. I got homesick looking at your photos. Perhaps we can keep each other in the loop about our home cities through photographs?

    SSG xxx

  14. Hello Sydney Shop Girl! Yes, definitely we can keep each other in the loop through photographs 🙂

  15. Hi Kristin, Peanuts character would be fun too 🙂 The cows are pretty special though. I was walking around the city this morning and it was lovely to see people taking photos and walking around with maps to find the cows 🙂

  16. Hello there. I totally, totally love these cows. In fact, I so love cows that I use to work at a live theatre by day and night, and milked cows on the weekend. I started collecting the Cow Parade cows after I encountered them in Chicago. Go great that they’ve come to WA!

  17. Hi Wanda! That’s great that you collect Cow Parade cows – they’re gorgeous, aren’t they? And you … a milk-woman 🙂 I would never have guessed, but how awesome – what a great thing to do. I love the smell of dairies, and I love cows too.

  18. Perth Cow Parade is perfect for summer. I went to India for vacation last year and I saw lots of cow on the road, it seems they have the right way. No one bothers them and they know how to dealt with the traffic. We have the right to drive and the Perth Cow Parade is perfect.

  19. Johanna thank you for sharing! What a lovely article and the photos are amazing too! I love how you put together these information on The Udderly Fabulous Perth Cow Parade. Easy to read, very relatable and great tips! Can’t wait to read more!

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