Isika Kusnandar, 10, plays among the feathers after the show. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Against all historic precedent, it snowed in central Perth at the weekend.

The summer storm stopped traffic and trapped thousands of people in the middle of St Georges Terrace on Saturday night.

On closer inspection, the snowfall was something just as miraculous – millions of pristine white feathers moulted and strewn across the sky by a flock of playful angels.

The blizzard started with a solitary feather. Not that anyone could see it, fluttering to earth in the darkened sky.

However, for years to come, many people in the crowd will claim to have been the first to spot that lone advanced scout of the angelic incursion from the heavens above St George's Cathedral.


Place des Anges, or Angels Square, was the creation of French aerial acrobatic troupe Les Studios de Cirque.

To a pulsating soundtrack and lighting display, nearly 20 performers twisted and spun along eight cables criss-crossing the Terrace as high as 235m between office towers.

If there there were any doubts about the the capacity of art to utterly remake a place, then Place des Anges completely put them to bed and tucked them in beneath a cosy feather-stuffed quilt.

The show portrayed the lighthearted flight of angels coming to earth once every 500 years to play.

Leaving white plumes in their wake, they seized the imagination of an estimated 30,000 people crammed between the cathedral and Council House.

Nearly two tonnes of feathers, enough to stuff thousands of pillows, exploded from the suitcases of the swirling, high-wire trapeze artists and a series of industrial blowers on the ground to be carried by the breeze across the city.

People in the crowd were enveloped in the joyful maelstrom, throwing clumps in the air and in each other’s faces as if having an almighty snow fight.

Their show over, the angels came to ground and were mobbed by spectators, who waded through snowdrifts of feathers to snap a picture or shake their hands.

In many ways the best was still to come. The performance complete, the crowd itself became the spectacle as strangers - adults and children alike - shed any sense of reserve and simply played together in the downy wonderland.

Place des Anges was the major free public spectacle for the Perth International Arts Festival, which runs until March 3.

For the record, the natural, bio-degradable feathers were treated and hypoallergenic. After the show, they were removed by industrial vacuum cleaners and a road sweeper.

Borne by the wind and the hair, clothing and bags of the people in the crowd, escaped feather sightings were reported as far afield as Mandurah, Midland and Joondalup.

The West Australian

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