Hey, how are yous? This week I want you to wander with no intention and in good company, or to give it to you straight - take a walk with a mate.
This series of actions titled, ‘Commonground’ revisits the three suburbs that I grew up in and have spent the majority of my life travelling between for school, work, family and friends.
Parramatta, Merrylands and Guildford each have their own charm, for better or for worse, as well as incredible food and architecture shaped over decades of multicultural communities calling these suburbs home.
I wanted to carry out the simple action of walking, to take you with me through these spaces of domestic and social utility, in particular laneways, arcades, carparks, local shopping malls and main streets. The ‘tiny planet’ videos are created with a 360 degree camera that visually references and reshapes the stigma-fueled ‘othering’ of Western Sydney. I hope it is both cathartic and a point of reference for future trips to these neighbourhoods (particularly for a feed - you can’t go wrong).
These visual maps might also belong to a not-too-distant future archive as these sites undergo rapid change. Some suburbs are becoming unrecognisable through constant states of mass development, homogenisation and gentrification, and historical buildings, malls and generations-owned small businesses are in the process of being demolished.
The walks are accompanied by a visual archive of photos I have taken over the past year and include a few cheeky annotations to give them background and character. Finally, I’ve created an Instagram filter that designates you a freestanding South-West carpark to develop your own affinity with.
I acknowledge and pay my respects to the Darug people, the traditional custodians of the land on which I work and walk on. Sovereignty was never ceded.
Gillian Kayrooz’s practice is grounded in observations of her immediate surroundings and has evolved into a practice that re-authors personal histories through experimental modes of non-linear storytelling. Her work retains a focus on screen art, photo media and video installations. As a filmmaker and artist, she spent her undergraduate years developing a vast range of skills that now allow her to shoot, direct, edit, compose music for and install all of her video work. This has enabled the expansion of her work to encompass sculpture and textiles. Although there is a vast variety of processes and materials within her work, there remains a documentative focus reflecting local culture and domestic environments. Her practice is informed by personal experience and connection to place, and invites the specificities of culture and community to push against socially dictated boundaries of cultural stereotypes and socio-economic related stigmas.
Gillian Kayrooz is an artist from Western Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours) from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. In 2018 she was awarded the Create NSW Young Creative Leaders Fellowship which led her to exhibit internationally in the Asia-Pacific region. She most recently completed residencies at the Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts and the Sapporo Tenjinyama Artist Studio, ARTnSHELTER, Tokyo. In 2021, Kayrooz is a studio artist in residence at Parramatta Artists’ Studios.
Walking through Parramatta for seven minutes and thirty seconds.
Walking through Merrylands for five minutes and forty-one seconds.
Thank you to Rachel Fogarty for walking with me. We picked up an afternoon treat from Merrylanda bakery after this walk.
Walking through Guildford for nine minutes and one second.
Thank you to Rachel Fogarty for walking with me. We stopped at Yum Yum Bakery for lunch - they have just reopened since renovating.