About the Workshops

Auburn Cartographies of Diversity developed a dynamic and committed group of photographers over several months. On the night of the first workshop, a local was going on his evening jog and he literally ran in. He suddenly saw the poster on the door, came in and joined the workshop, calling home to say he’d be late.

Workshop participants looked forward to each Friday night – it was less about learning technical skills and more about seeing the world in a different way, through photography as art. In addition to workshops packed with activity and image sharing, discussion and learning about international photographic artists, Jagath Dheerasekara, the Artist Facilitator, spent much time communicating with each photographer exploring their ongoing personal projects.

Auburn Cartographies of Diversity project searched for a street level exhibition space in the Auburn shopping area and was welcomed into ‘Gada’s Big Bite’ on Auburn Road. The friendly restaurant space became a second home for the photography group, including a dinner where the exhibition concept and installation plan was discussed.

After much dedicated improvisation, the photographic art exhibition was installed and a professional catalogue was produced. The exhibition represented the creative work of 11 photographers, each exhibiting a selection of 8 professionally printed photographs of varying sizes. The feature wall was a major collaborative work comprising 121 ‘experimental egg’ photographs. Following the successful opening night, there was another dinner at ‘Big Bite’ with a gathering and exchange between the photographers and members of Auburn Poets and Writers Group.

The photography group has continued independently as SWAP: SYDNEY WEST ARTISTIC PHOTOGRAPHERS and they meet on the first Friday of the month, 7.00pm-9.00pm at Auburn Centre for Community. The group is now part of Cumberland Council’s Lifelong Learning Program.

Jagath Dheerasekara and Alissar Chidiac

Auburn Centre for Community

Everything began with an egg

Everyone photographed the chicken egg. It was a bit confusing at the beginning. Confusion as to ‘what’ and not so much as to ‘how’. As weeks went by, clarity began to appear in ‘what’, while ‘how’ died off, giving rise to another confusion – ‘why’. Why do you do this? It never waned. That was good, because I too am confused with ‘why’ as always. Eleven artists attempted to visualise the given adjective through the given egg. All given randomly – both eggs and adjectives – expansive, colourful,
unexpected, silent and so on. It was a lot of fun. Among other creative engagements, artists continued making images of ‘adjective-egg’ as a part of art making throughout the workshop series. Towards the middle of the series, the eggs simply transformed into props and the images began to tell ‘something’ about the adjectives.
Jagath Dheerasekara, From the exhibition catalogue

“The workshops opened my eyes to new ways of viewing and taking photos. Using modesty, ambiguity in photographs that make the viewer question, wonder and work through an image – hence learn.”


Meet some of the photographers, as Nawal Abdi captured different dynamic stages of the journey of Photography on Fridays – including the workshop process, some reflective interviews with participants and the buzz of the exhibition opening night at ‘Gada’s Big Bite’.

“It was great to feel that I can actually engage with photography in an artistic manner… Social-connectivity and self-confidence have grown. I feel that I belong here.”


Quiet Nights in Auburn
Suthanthan Swaminathan

Auburn is peaceful in most nights. I enjoy the night lights in blue, and the quietness, when I go for my regular relaxing walks.

Auburn Through My Eyes
Zaheer Mamujee
We are shaped by the spaces around us. We in turn, shape the spaces, people and collective memories and journeys we create together for the people within our spheres. I am a part of the Auburn area and story.

This series of photographs maps my personal journey from Kenya to London to Sydney and my personal connections, relationships and feelings for my suburb, of whose story I am proud to have become part of.

Of Light Filtered Thru a Third Lens
Kathryn Yuen
Life and photography… both capture moments of beauty, despair, truth and fantasy. Via life and art, I see the world with clarity, differently and anew. I am made aware of the impacts of light and time. I guess my photos show you a glimpse of me. (I’m a woman who has never really taken photos before… I’ve always encouraged or stood aside to let others do it).

I imagine this photography thing has all the hallmarks of a beginning love affair, or a descent into voyeurism. Or me paying service as witness / director for those who, like me, yearn for insight alongside a positive, value added engagement with our world.

A Fun Run Transcends All Boundaries
Christine de Villecourt
No matter your age, your gender, your race, your culture, your social status, your financial status, your religious beliefs, your fitness or how competitive you are, you can race, run, walk or even stroll the distance. The internal desire to beat your previous time is the only real competition. We all come together for a Fun Run. The Auburn area has so many wonderful parklands and areas for us to practice being fit, whilst having fun.

Looking Up, Looking Down, Looking Around
Robert Harcourt
My work is that of an outsider to Auburn. An overwhelming feeling of solitude and the difficulty of belonging in a rapidly transforming environment are central to my experience of Auburn.

Kelvin Law
I use images to record some of the nice things around us.

Awesome Auburn – Around my Little World!
Jayaseelan Thangavel
Auburn – a beautiful, multicultural, awesome suburb in Sydney, which is amazingly a lively place through all the seasons of the year. I tried to map these exciting feelings with the wonderful moments my kids were having through the seasons in their ‘own sweet little world’ .

My kids are always awesome, just as Auburn is always awesome to me.

Through a Different Lens: Focus on Auburn
Jean Rhodes
In my photos I have tried to capture some of the special features of Auburn – a Western Sydney suburb characterised by diversity of people, culture and environment. More than 64% of the population were born overseas and the constant influx of migrants has made Auburn a melting pot. The town centre is dominated by the built environment, however there are many unique attractions such as Mado Café, the Gallipoli Mosque, as well as the spectacular Auburn Botanic Gardens. Though Auburn has a young population, the average age being 29, the stories and cultures in Auburn stretch back thousands of years.

More than Words – Signposts of Auburn
Trish Jean
Street signs are signposts and are often black and white, offering just a glimpse of what is ahead. I had been given many words – like ‘violence’, ‘gun’, ‘shooting’, ‘gangs’ and ‘unsafe’. As I spend time in Auburn, the words given to me for my map are not what I would use. Art critic, novelist, painter and poet John Berger claims that, “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” More than words, my map of Auburn needs signposts that invite an open experience, a deeper exploration, and an appreciation of Auburn’s texture, shape and story. More than words, a map is more than navigation. More than a glimpse will show you that.

My Eggsperience
Hassan Saleh
My Eggsperience was largely inspired by my good luck of getting the adjective ‘Expansive’. Thanks to Kathryn, the colleague who suggested the adjective. I guess my Expansive Eggsperience felt more like the Egg, the couple of head-torches I had and our plastic covered dining table, running the show. It started with finding a YouTube video by Joe Edelman photographing the Egg. Taking a dozen of dozens of photos of the Egg and eggsperimenting with the lights, it turned into a joyful Eggsperience with many photos that I loved.

Dalia Elshami
As an insider and outsider to Auburn, these are the people, places and things that are familiar and connected to me.