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Dim and moody, the Rosemount Hotel turned into an artistic wonderland for one night only. Walking through a rabbit warren of hallways, a cornucopia of art awaited us, thanks to the team at RAW.

RAW is an organisation supporting independent artists all over the world with the resources they need to thrive in their careers. They aim to give artists exposure through their loud and colourful art shows, showcasing dance, music, visual art, fashion and beauty––just to name a few. According to the founder and CEO of RAW Heidi Luerra, “we think that every independent artist deserves the opportunity to be seen, heard and loved.” And RAW does exactly that.

The range of artwork was very broad, as my friend and I wandered through the hallways packed with like-minded artistic people. We came across Donna Dumas’ stall first, filled with abstract pop art portraits on large pieces of plywood. Some of her portraits included Freddie Mercury, Frida Kahlo and Childish Gambino.

Next up was Wood Tattoo, with his heavy shading and traditional tattoo designs. Featuring illustrations of busty women, full red roses and skulls dripping with blood, Wood Tattoo’s designs were a welcome flashback to the past.

Akimbo’s larger-than-life earrings made from polymer clay and resin were unique and stylish. Her earrings were all colours, shapes and sizes imaginable––they were mesmerising.

Tazmerelda is another tattoo artist from Perth with a grungy, neotraditional style. She sells her designs on skateboard decks, prints and terrariums. The intense illustrations and bold, defined outlines showcased a traditional tattoo appearance also combined with her obvious love for drawing delicate flowers.

In the centre of the action, the stage held musicians singing while we observed the artwork. Josh Debonis, a singer-songwriter from Bunbury, blew the crowd away with his soulful, raw vocals. First up, he performed a cover of Havana by Camila Cabello, the bass pounding in my ears. He then played one of his originals, Faster, which was more an EDM style of music. With the voice of an angel, Josh Debonis is certainly one to look out for.

The musical acts were broken up with showcases of the artists from their stalls as they all got up onto the catwalk to showcase their work to the crowd that had gathered around the stage. RAW emphasises supporting the local artists in your community and does this by hosting events like ‘IMPACT’ as a platform for the artists to promote themselves.

Shelley Hughe was up next with a deep voice that took me by surprise. Dressed in red and black, she exuded confidence onstage with a cool stare while she grooved to her own music. Her voice switched to a country twang with such ease as she covered Jackson and Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash. She looked like she belonged up there onstage, and enjoyed it too.

Dripped in black lace, Skyuka captivated the audience with her electric and exquisite performance. Born to perform, she stole the show with her powerful vocals and catchy EDM tunes, her presence filling the room. Her eclectic dance moves were the highlight of the set though, as she didn’t have a care in the world and completely went for it. Good on you, girlfriend.

After the musical acts, the dancing began. Sian McCrell and her troupe were absolutely fierce, their moves powerful, strong and direct. I was blown away by the talent of their troupe as they danced to a mash-up of eight hip-hop songs, each getting their turn to strut down the catwalk and claim the audience’s attention. Dressed all in white, their performance was anything but angelic; it was edgy, sexy and empowering.

Unfortunately, because parking metres and fines exist, our three hours came to a close as we ran back to my car to hopefully avoid my second ticket for the week. The showcase was amazing, and opened our eyes to some of the very talented artists within Perth.

Jump onto www.rawartists.org to find out more about the artists and others within Perth who are supported by RAW.

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