Three Wyndham-based photographic artists explore self-representation as resistance in the context of a commercialised Australian suburbia.
Photographers Imran Abul Kashem, Rachel Morley and Ammar Yonis all have a connection to Wyndham, either living and working in the city or growing up there and returning at different times. Regardless of whether they are near or far from Wyndham as both physical place and subject, the suburb clearly remains a strong artistic provocation for each artist. They become observers and reporters, using their cameras to dissect and declare, to examine and express, to play, to protest, to witness.
Here, individual works touch on a range of themes, from housing insecurity and the flawed facade of the suburban ‘dream home’ (Morley), the relationship between geography and liberty (Yonis), and the socio-environmental impact of suburban expansion (Abul Kashem). What pervades throughout is the sense that something essential is being encroached upon—whether public space, personal agency, or even something unnameable. Through this, Suburban Views draws crucial links between civic, cultural, personal, political and ecological freedom, while also revealing the very real ways in which these forces already resist and persist in Wyndham itself, driving up through cracks in the ever-expanding suburban pavement.
These works highlight the importance of self-representation, which is more vital than ever as suburbs like those in Wyndham are created, spun and sold by corporate developers faster than we can collectively influence their form. Here we see stories emerging from the inside that stand in contrast with idealistic images being sold by developers. As a result, our imagination of Australian suburbia is reframed, simultaneously challenging cultural stereotypes, commercial advertising, and dominant mythologies. Such work allows us insight into a place in transition, observing the complex interplay between preservation and progress, land and livelihood, and corporate and civic agendas.
Imran Abul KashemImran Abul Kashem is a Wyndham-based photographer and storyteller. Formerly a journalist, Abul Kashem moved to Australia from Bangladesh in 2008 and found it difficult to share people’s stories in an unfamiliar language. He turned to photography, later studying at Melbourne Polytechnic. Abul Kashem has been the recipient of numerous grants and prizes, and has undertaken residencies in Australia and Japan. More recently, much of his work centres on the transformation of his local Werribee South, capturing change as new residential development encroaches upon existing ecosystems and farmland.
Rachel Morley is a Tarneit-based artist and arts worker. Her practice explores relationships to place and the construction of memory through photography and photo collage. Drawing on her personal experience of insecure housing, recent works reflect class tensions and politics through representations of the house/home and suburb/hometown. Morley has presented solo exhibitions at Analogue Academy (2022) and The Annex (2023). Her work Housing should not be for profit was shortlisted for the 2023 Wyndham Art Prize.
Ammar Yonis is a Harari-Australian artist based in Melbourne’s west. His work blends fiction with his own realities to explore narratives often marginalised. His photography was awarded the Local Acquisition Prize runner-up at the Footscray Art Prize and won the Capturing Culture Competition at the Immigration Museum.