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Parramatta Portraits

Explore stories and portraits of Parramatta, ahead of the launch of STORYBOX in Parramatta Square.


Selected personal reflections, various writers and story-tellers.

Leanne Tobin is a Darug artist and educator, who works extensively in Parramatta and across Western Sydney from her base in the Blue Mountains. Leanne, along with her brother Chris, sister Jacinta, and many others in her family, weave stories of connection to country and of dispossession with passionate advocacy of environmental and social justice. Her mother, Val, grew up in Parramatta, learned to swim out a Little Coogee in Parramatta Park, and only discovered her Aboriginal heritage when a grown woman. She will be sharing her stories with us as part of the launch of STORYBOX.

Along with Leanne, there are many others who devoted their care and creativity to Parramatta's evolving story. We'll be sharing more of these stories as we program STORYBOX over coming months.


Produced by Esem Projects.

Parramatta is a place defined by its river. Its name refers to the original inhabitants, the Barramattagal, a name thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word for 'place where the eels lie down'. This place name speaks to the vital role played by river systems in supporting rich food ecologies. Mangroves, like those along the river, are also excellent at storing carbon, both in plants and in the sediments below: they can store 5 times more carbon in their soils than terrestrial ecosystems such as forests. This piece, designed for exhibition in the new city centre of Parramatta Square, creates a portal into the freshwater river scenes that have sustained this place for millennia.

Produced by Esem Projects

Parramatta is a city once described as the 'infrastructure capital of the world' by former NSW Premier Mike Baird. Suburban streets and single story office buildings are making way for multi-story apartment blocks wherever one looks.  Richard's line drawings have an affinity for both the everydayness and the beautiful complexity of these rapid changes. ESEM Projects and Richard Briggs have collaborated together on many outdoor exhibitions, creating interwoven scenes of past and present that celebrate the beautiful and chaotic complexity of cities in transition.

This artwork is a collaboration between Esem Projects and Richard Briggs, commissioned for Storybox Parramatta.


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