The Hanging: It’s Our Thing

July 27th 2016

blacktownartscentre_itsoutthing2Khaled Sabsabi, 70,000 Veils, 2014. Photograph by Emily McTaggart

The exhibition ‘It’s Our Thing’ is an insight into the walls of Blacktown.

It’s a celebration of the street culture and hip hop community that grew there in the 90’s, featuring dusted-off archives from an artist run initiative called Street Level that shut down in ’95.

The flyers throw back to the days when it was acceptable to photocopy in black & white and print on colored paper. Posters for exhibitions titled things like ‘Pay the Rent: Aboriginal art in the West’ are a reminder that while design standards have changed, Indigenous politics have been pretty stuck.

The exhibition features the work of prolific artists Khaled Sabsabi and Mikey Rawat who take street art onto the canvas. Rawat leans towards a familiar graph style, whereas Sabsabi’s works on canvas are stencil based.

Dotted throughout the exhibition are works of 20th Century legends like Picasso and Andy Warhol. I guess it’s an attempt to legitimise street art within the context of high art – but it feels out of place in an exhibition celebrating Blacktown’s roots.

The works could stand on their own. The impressive centrepiece of the show is an installation made of 80 screens. Don the 3D glasses and it’s like you’re stepping into the graph covered streets of Blacktown.

This show is an example of what regional galleries do so well. Art by the community for the community. As a non resident it gave me a real sense of the grassroots movement that exists in Blacktown. I felt invited to become part of it.

WHAT: It’s Our Thing
WHERE: Blacktown Arts Centre
WHEN: 2 June – 6 August, 2016
HOW MUCH: FREE – more info


FBi’s Arts & Culture executive producer.

Read more from Nerida Ross