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Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook

This free exhibition sees artist Cherine Fahd capture the people, communities and stories of Parramatta, thanks to a series of pop-up portrait studios.
By Ben Hansen
August 05, 2022
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By Ben Hansen
August 05, 2022
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Since 2006, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has been running initiatives in Greater Western Sydney to inject art into communities and businesses across the region of Sydney, all as part of C3West. This year's project is Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook, a large-scale photography installation that has popped up in Centenary Square until Monday, October 3.

The exhibition sees the people, communities and stories of Parramatta surveyed through the portraiture photography of Cherine Fahd. Located on Dharug Country, Sydney's second city plays home to a rich and diverse kaleidoscope of residents and workers, with the area currently experiencing unprecedented urban development while also maintaining its place as an important cultural and culinary hub.

The project captures hundreds of people, from Parramatta mainstays and local families through to unsung heroes of the area and passersby. Fahd's subjects were photographed through pop-up portrait studios set up between November 2021–July 2022 in bustling Parramatta locations including construction sites, Centenary Square and CommBank Stadium. Throughout the photos, you'll also find interactions between Fahd and the sitters, imparting a sense of authenticity and intimacy to the shots.

"The Yearbook is a record of a people and a place at a particular time. The time is COVID-19, the place is the City of Parramatta," Fahd said.

"While people stirred within the city of Parramatta's numerous construction projects, with new buildings emerging and not so old ones dissolving, local people came willing to talk and pose against the backdrop of scaffolds, cranes and abseiling window cleaners. Parramatta Yearbook shows you the moments leading up to, during and after a portrait is made. An assortment of cut-up images, bright colours and kindergarten shapes reveal the outtakes and minutiae."

The exhibition is free to view in Centenary Square, and there will be a range of free events taking place during its two-month run. An opening ceremony will take place from 11am–12pm on Saturday, August 13. On Saturday, September 17, a Parramatta Yearbook photo walk will leave from Centenary Square at 3pm, taking participants on a tour of the suburb — registration is essential for this event with spaces on the walk limited.

And, at 11am on on Saturday, October 1, a physical iteration of the yearbook will be unveiled with limited free copies available to take home.

Images: Cherine Fahd, Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook(2021–2022), produced and presented by C3West on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in partnership with Parramatta Artists' Studios, an initiative of the City of Parramatta. Photo courtesy and © the artist.

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