The Heong Gallery presents the first exhibition of Hurricane Bells – a project by contemporary artist Peter Shenai.
Shenai has designed and cast five bronze bells, whose shapes are based on the structure of Hurricane Katrina – the storm that devastated New Orleans in August 2005.
Hung in a line and struck in order these bells produce a series of descending tones, which indicate the growing power of the storm as it built through time.
Each bell is a scale model of the hurricane at a particular point in its progression. Bell 1 represents Katrina as an infant hurricane out in the Gulf of Mexico. Bell 5 shows Katrina just as it struck the coastal city of New Orleans at a terrifying strength two days later.
Audiences are invited to play the Hurricane Bells using the beaters provided. Shenai encourages visitors to “strike them and listen. Turn them over and feel their weight. Investigate Katrina with your eyes, hands, and ears.”
The bells evoke the musical spirit of New Orleans – a place where even at funerals, people might dance and play music. And at a time when bushfires roar, and cities declare climate emergencies, Shenai’s musical instruments offer a meditative sound to memorialise a past tragedy, and they act as an alarm call to the current, unfolding crisis.
Accessibility: There is wheelchair access. There is padded seating, an accessible toilet, and a gender neutral toilet. There is a designated quiet space by request at the event. Unfortunately we cannot offer a hearing loop, a bsl interpreter, subtitles, closed caption, or audio description. A hearing loop is available in the Porters’ Lodge.