Finding hidden treasures through community engagement

1-ICE_Under-the-Awnings_Exhibition-FinalYou are invited to attend a brief exhibition at Parklawn Place in North St
Marys, between 4.30 and 5.30pm, on Wednesday, May 25. It will be the culmination of a project that has seen local kids, businesses and community members collaborate with renowned photographer, Peter Solness (TIME Magazine) and acclaimed screenwriter Nico Lathouris (Mad Max 4-­‐ Fury Road) to create Under the Awnings. After setting up their cameras under shop awnings, in North St Marys,  Peter and Nico captured people and moments as they moved about their daily lives. Peter said. “People work really hard here, so we just asked them to stop for a few minutes so we could take a snapshot.”

The exhibition will feature large photographic prints, video art, live music and refreshments from the local shops, Under the Awnings celebrates local faces, magnified by the expertise of the two artists. It is a way of letting people see their own lives and others’ from a different perspective and to recognise their uniqueness and the cultural riches of their community’s diversity. North St Marys is a small suburb of Penrith, largely untouched by development ICE - Dr Sayed Hasnain - Under the Awningsthat has been a beneficiary of Penrith Council’s Magnetic Places program. The small grants program has connected artists with communities, organisations and businesses since 2009. It helps animate and celebrate neighbourhoods, make stronger social and creative connections, and develop skills, resourcefulness and confidence among participants.

Above, right, is Peter Solness’s portrait of Dr Sayed Hasnain and below left, his portrait of Rosemary from Mario’s Pastizzi. Among other local businesses in Under the Awnings is Flora’s Fijian hair styling, which attracts clients from across Sydney. Art ICE - Rosemary - Under the Awningsstudents from nearby Chifley College are also featured. Different organisations partner with communities and artists to conduct projects and it’s worth looking at Magnetic Places Blogspot from 2013 to see something of their range and social impact. Under the Awnings is a project of the community engagement unit of Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) and produced by Christian Tancred. You will be a welcome visitor to Under the Awnings on Wednesday, May 25.

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