This six-part series is a collaboration between Esem Projects and Richard Briggs, commissioned for Storybox Parramatta. 

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.

Trace Parramatta

Illustrations by Richard Briggs. Produced and commissioned by ESEM Projects, 2020

  • Instagram

This series of scans depicts found materials collected on the walk from the local train station to the Parramatta River. Navigating this area of Parramatta is a personal experience that I have constantly revisited as a child, adolescent and now as an emerging artist at the Parramatta Artist Studios.

Gillian Kayrooz is an emerging artist from Western Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts with first class honours from the Sydney College of the Arts. In 2018 she was awarded the Create NSW Young Creative Leaders Fellowship which led her to exhibit internationally in the Asia-pacific region. She most recently completed residencies at the Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts in China, the Sapporo Tenjinyama Artist Studio and Tokyo ArtnShelter precinct in Japan. In 2020, Kayrooz is a studio artist in residence at the Parramatta Artist Studios.

Towards the River

Gillian Kayrooz, 2020


Baaro, is a durational performance, Lal sets light to 100 small hand made turmeric bowls at her family home in western Sydney. Burning haldi (turmeric) is a healing ritual passed down by Indian women. Burning is a ritual

act within Hinduism; it is used in hawan's as an act of cleansing and renewal. Burning is also how sugar is formed.

Shivanjani Lal is a twice-removed Fijian-Indian-Australian artist and curator. As an artist living in Australia, she is tied to a long history of familial movement; her work uses personal grief to account for ancestral loss and trauma.   She is a member of the indentured labourer diaspora from the Indian and Pacific oceans. She employs intimate images of family, sourced from photo albums, along with video and images from contemporary travels to the Asia-Pacific to reconstruct temporary landscapes. These landscapes act as shifting sites for diasporic healing - from which she emerges.   A fundamental concern in the work is how art develops and represents culture as it transitions between contexts, while also probing the experiences of women in these situations of flux.


Shivanjani's work on STORYBOX also fetaures Like This Incense and Kala Pani.

Baaro Part 1, 2, 3

Shivanjani Lal, 2020

  • Instagram

Under the Table I Learnt How To Feed You

Justine Youssef, 2020

  • Instagram

Through methods of auto-ethnography, this work connects familial histories and local narratives of undocumented immigrant labor with present politics of gentrification and displacement.

Justine Youssef is an artist currently based on unceded Darug land. Her practice is site-responsive and attentive to her origins in South-West Asia. She works across multiple disciplines including performance, moving image and scent, solo and collaboratively. Her work moves through questions surrounding neo-colonial rhetoric and is rooted in research into moments and places that reconfigure authoritative realities. Often these questions take the form of speculative and world-building practices. At other times the research is documented through gesture and the body, connecting intimate narratives with the larger systems that govern them. Youssef presented her first solo exhibition ‘All Blessings, All Curses’ at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in 2018, and was the recipient of the 2019 John Fries Award. This year she is undertaking a residency at the Parramatta Artist Studios and working for Pari, a grassroots art space on Darug Land.


💦Immersion: Parra River Patch (first playthrough) 💦 is the first in a series of video and sculptural works devoted to the Parramatta River.

Stylised as a playthrough of a video game, Immersion sees an avatar swimming in the contaminated river 🦠 against a backdrop of construction sites and young families. The work reflects on the agency of rivers by trying to dissolve the self within histories and futures of riverways.

Immersion was made on the lands and waters of the Burramattagal people of Darug nation. I pay my respect to Darug elders past, present and emerging and all First Nations people.

Growing up along the river I saw a commonality in respect towards elders and water in many cultures. There's an irony living next to an old body of water and not being able to swim in it.

See also Earthmoving Anxiety. 

My full name is Kalanjay Dhir but people have named me Kal. I'm an artist and failed (try-hard) viral content creator based on unceded Darug Land (Sydney aka the 2K). I was born in 95 so I'm a millennial but I feel like a Zoomer. I average 9 hours and 41 minutes of screen time a day and went modestly viral once on TikTok with 60K views (shout out Anna Paul).

Full bio

Immersion: Parra River Patch

Kalanjay Dhir, 2020

  • Instagram

'Underflow' articulates a moment of close observation and interaction with the sounds, wind, light, birds and people which enliven Parramatta River.

Sydney based artist Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen uses experimental drawing, listening, sound and video practices to explore processes of embodied listening. Through interactions with the surfaces, people and atmospheric contingencies of places, Chen examines how drawing and listening can engender new connections and enact distinct senses of places.


Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen, 2020

  • Instagram

These digital collages function as portals that interrupt space and evoke unseen worlds. These works incorporate fragments of places and memories, including iPhone photos of swamps, old paintings and chicken guts. Thinning of the veil offers a gateway, a daydream, even if for a brief moment on one’s daily journey.             

Sofiyah Ruqayah (b. 1992, Sydney) is a Sydney-based artist working across drawing, installation, collage and painting to explore the strange territories between human and nonhuman realities. She is interested in themes of mutation, dream and spirit worlds. Drawing upon imagined and felt connections between various bodies, presences and memories, as well as familial and cultural myths of embodiment, Sofiyah’s practice invites us to speculate on our nonhuman origins and intertwined fates. In 2020, Sofiyah is undertaking a 12-month studio residency at Parramatta Artists’ Studios and will present her first solo exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in October, as part of the Holding Patterns exhibition series. She has exhibited both locally and internationally, including group exhibitions at Lubov Gallery (New York), Peacock Gallery (Sydney) and at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (Sydney) with Woven Kolektif, a collective of emerging Australian artists with personal ties to Indonesia.

Thinning of the Veil

Sofiyah Ruqayah, 2020

  • Instagram

Short film of archival photos & sketches of the Lennox Bridge, Parramatta with text. This video is part of Land, Vista, Food, Colony, a photo-documentation series of Parramatta

Since devising as a member of award-winning performance ensemble, version 1.0, Yana has sustained a fascination with found images and records/archives – revivifying their factual qualities, opening out their documentary effects to more speculative responses in present-day aesthetic and social realms. She brings experience in movement and dance disciplines to handling language, voice and composition in direction. Her PhD at University of Sydney was on the influence of body-based practices in contemporary performance making. Yana is a studio artist @parra_artiststudios on Burramattagal/Darug land.

Land, Vista, Food, Colony

Trying to see the Arch

Yana Taylor, 2020

Liam Benson.png

Painting Tacky Motel

Liam Benson, 2020

Edited by Dara Gill, courtesy Parramatta Artist Studios

  • Instagram

Drag makeup restructures your entire face. The technique is a combination of film and stage makeup tricks, special effect hacks, style trend references and hand me down tips. It plays with our perception of identity and gender and reminds us that there’s a lot more behind physical appearance.

Liam Benson is a multi-disciplinary artist based at Parramatta Artist Studios, Rydalmere. Incorporating performance, photography, video and textiles, Benson’s work explores identity and culture as a living dualistic process, both informed by and challenging tradition. Liam’s practice is informed by working collaboratively with diverse communities through an ongoing conversation about how culture, sub- culture and identity interrelate and evolve.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook


Would you like to contribute? Learn more




STORYBOX features artworks by contemporary and emerging artists, photographers and filmmakers. 

Explore a selection of work featured as part of STORYBOX Parramatta. 

Video & Photography