Offering a warm welcome to our local suburb and those beyond, our inaugural exhibition takes a fresh look at Suburbia through the eyes of a culturally and geographically diverse selection of artists. From the perspectives of Tangentyere indigenous painters who make keen observations of ‘outback suburbia’, to those from further afield with Daata Edition’s international video artists, this exhibition explores our complex and evolving relationships to each other and the places we inhabit.
Conventionally, suburbia conjures images of backyard sausage sizzles, white picket fences and neatly-trimmed lawns at the culturally conservative edges of cities. A vision that lives on thanks to exported US dramas but sits at odds with the realities of living in Australia today. With inner city gentrification, immigrant communities pushed to the fringes of cities, high-density urban living and outback modernisation, the meaning of suburbia is ripe to be teased apart and redefined - through a perspective of difference and reflecting social and cultural shifts that play out in our everyday.
Wide-ranging experiences of suburbia are offered by the selected artists who share personal insights into migration, colonisation, cultural identity, social conformity, the body and home. They engage a broad spectrum of art forms to tell their stories and provoke reflection, including needle-point embroidery, live performance, spoken word, ceramics, installation and digital media.
Building upon the long-held, complex relationships artists have with suburbia, the artworks presented are as controversial as they are celebratory. Some artists shine a light on forms of social injustice or speak to the personal struggles and psychological complexities that playout behind closed doors. Others embrace suburbia’s banal, kitsch and nostalgic qualities as points of connection, and recognise the home as a safe space for intimacy and expression of difference.
Throughout, the artists’ sensitivity, stark honesty and humour challenge us to think more expansively about suburbia - how we relate to one another in our daily lives and what we want suburbia to mean to us today.