These were the times in North St Marys - Information & Cultural Exchange

These were the times in North St Marys

In the collective pursuit of access to the arts for all Australians, working with high calibre artists makes the task easier. In the case of Under the Awnings, Peter Solness and Nico Lathouris contributed to the project with a grace and generosity befitting their eminent status. It was also great fun working with a group of students from Chifley College Dunheved and the project is indebted to Sue Waddell for make this possible.

These projects are not possible without the support of funding bodies, in this case Penrith City Council’s Magnetic Places grants program that has contributed to vibrancy and cultural diversity across Penrith over several years. I would like to share a few snapshots of my favourite and most inspiring people and moments from our work with the community of Nth St Mary’s. The creative team, our participants and the community members made Under the Awnings a truly memorable project.

The only boy in our schools workshop group, Loka carried himself with a brightness and fun that was hard not to be effected by. Always happy to lug a camera case or encourage his fellow students, Loka’s simple and optimistic outlook on life is refreshing.

Flying Above
The architectural layout and perspectives of Nth St Mary’s was intriguing to us. In some ways the buildings face inward but they also outward. Whichever way, each one faces onto public space. We think this contributes to a sense of togetherness and community. Our great friend Vanna Seang was good enough to help us capture some shots from above to give us a new perspective on this perspective.

A Haunted House
There is a derelict building at the end of Parklawn place. This is a place to intrigue the imagination. Could it be haunted I certainly wouldn’t be hanging out there on a dark night.

A Nice Place, Nice People
We met many nice people in our travels in Nth St Mary’s. The prevailing commentary was that Nth St Mary’s was a nice place to live and Parklawn place was an easy and safe place to shop and socialise. The prevailing theme was the friendliness of people.

Flora trained in New Zealand in the very specialised craft of cutting the hair of people from the Pacific islands. People travel from all over the state to receive her services. She carries herself with a gentle kindness that lights up her salon.

These were the times
There was a great sense of poetry and word play among our schools group. One member, Laura, wrote a beautiful piece exploring innocence and life experience from the perspective of a teenager. The work captured mixed feelings of happiness and melancholia, a very human experience.

“These were the times of laughter and sadness.”

Words by Christian Tancred.
Videos by Christian Tancred and Nico Lathouris.
Photos by Peter Solness.

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