In this exhibition, 12 Australian artists respond to Campbelltown – as community, a site of urban development and political debate, and as a landscape
Looking at Me Through You attempts a sort of ‘portrait’ of Campbelltown by a combination of artists who are local born and based, and artists observing from an outside point of view: Abdul Abdullah, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth, Andrew Christie, Mona Ibrahim, James Nguyen, Pet Projects, Tom Polo, Keren Ruki, Damien Shen, Salote Tawale, Shevaun Wright, and 110%.
Some of the artists have made works based on their experience of the area, others have made works via engagement with locals. All were given access to recent statistics about the region, as grist for their creative mill.
Abdul Abdullah, originally from Perth and now based in Sydney, worked with Year 12 students at Eaglevale High School in the suburb of Claymore as part of the project. Claymore has the youngest median age in Australia, at 17 years old (compared to an average national median age of 37). The resulting portraits draw on elements from the students’ faces to explore the idea of the “monstrous other”.
Tom Polo’s colourful wall work ‘Still Just Here’ was inspired by the signage in Queen Street Mall, which he walks through to get from the station to Campbelltown Arts Centre. “There’s so much more signage than shopfronts,” he notes. It prompted him to talk to local shop owners about their experiences as business owners in the changing area, and he combined words from the conversations, and patterns taken from the signage, in a kind of ‘collage’.