Fronting Barrack Street at the Perth Town Hall end of the State Buildings, the Petition Kitchen restaurant, is located where Perth’s first Police Court operated back in the 1870’s. Dirty Deeds is a work that illustrates exactly where the two holding cells for the Police Court used to stand and the kind of people who spent time there. ‘A miserable little box,’ was how the cells were described by one commentator in the press at the time, ‘shocked at the smallness and want of ventilation and light’ by another.
The footprint of the original cells can now be seen etched into the granite outside the restaurant, including the tiny windows and entry doors to the cells. As is evident, the experience of being locked in them with multiple others awaiting a spot on the Police Court roster would have been a tad uncomfortable at best. Alongside the incorporation of the original architecture of the site, the artists also trawled through the archival records of the Police Court News of the time to uncover the names and deeds of some of the detainees who were held in the cells.
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