The landscape of Western Sydney looms large in your work. In Apotheosis, a collaboration with SOFT CENTRE, a lone character explores a hyperreal world inspired by Western Sydney.
Could you tell me more about how you use the landscape of Western Sydney in your work and why it’s particularly important to you?
I travelled a lot in my childhood. I lived in Canada for a bit and I feel like I’ve been bloody everywhere. When I was making my work I was really sick of travelling and I felt that I didn’t really care about anywhere else in the world but Western Sydney. Which everyone thinks is stupid, because truly there’s nothing going on here. But I like my house and I like where I live. The part of Western Sydney where I am, it’s sort of like close to Parramatta and that’s one of the most rapidly built cities in the country. It’s this massive, growing city that’s not too far from farms and open highways and it feels really weird. If you look at the whole of Sydney, it’s laid out really weirdly, just sprouts of cities and this open landscape. A lot of my work is heaps of green or quite hilly open landscapes and then bits of cities.
But more of the Westie aspect of my work would definitely be the characters and their styling. We’re actually soft out here, even though everyone has this impression of us that we’re going to shoot you with a Glock and everyone’s going to stomp your head or something. There’s a lot of community and family values and multiculturalism; that’s the soft side. There is a lot of anger and struggles that people deal with, whether that’s addiction or mental health problems. But I’m trying to inject that ‘soft’ energy into the characters and the landscape.