Count us together – Images of the 1967 Referendum @ Customs House Sydney

20 May – 30 July 2017

For a couple of months the Customs House in Sydney had an exhibition and display of materials from the campaign connected with the 1967 referendum to turn the status of the Indigenous population of Australia into a more recognised reality acknowledged within modern Australia. The Referendum was one of the few in which the voters approved a change. Below are samples of the materials and the brochure issued with the exhibition.

Be – Live in the City @ Customs House Sydney

The Customs House Library has a policy of holding exhibitions on their walls and in the foyer. The recent one is titled Be. It is a wonderful set of photographs of people in the city of Sydney enjoying every day experiences. The photos have been taken in black and white and are accompanied by generous relevant text. The experiences and range of people represented are diverse and the overall impression is one of a complex community.

Some sample pics are below with gallery material.

Waste in time – Giles Clarke @ Customs House Sydney

28 April – 5 June 2016

Squalor and filth photographed and put on the walls of a gorgeous light fueled library inside a carefully restored 19th century building is planed to be an interesting juxtaposition. Giles Clarke’s pictures of a community which earns its meager income from recycling plastics and other products while living on and around a massive landfill in arguably the poorest and most corrupt country are made more stark on white walls in the midst of one of the most expensive cities to live in.

The photos are grim. The people are determined. The limited colour adds to the sense of foreboding. I am writing this over a month after I saw the exhibition which is now closed but the images have stuck and I have talked about the images and the exhibition to many times since I went to it.

Images a gallery blurb below.

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Hunter Street @ Customs House Sydney

Every time I can I visit the Customs House Library for their exhibitions. There is one space that is particularly special. On the east wall of Level 2 there is always a set of about a dozen items and whoever curates this space has a great track record. This set are called Hunter Street. It is a great set of paintings combined with poetry that celebrates the historically important Sydney street – Hunter Street. The paintings by Phil Tamblyn celebrate significant places or structures along Hunter Street and the poetry written by historian Craig Wilcox responds to the pictures.
I have included some of the flyers some paintings and some poetry below.











David Moore – A feat of Daring @ Customs House Sydney

I love construction. The bigger, the more complex the more I like it, Engineering something to engage with thousands or millions of people over many decades is one of the great human arts. Bridges have long fascinated me for those reasons. That is where David Moore walks into my world. His photographs display respect, understanding and delight in the processes of construction. On the walls of the Customs House Library in Sydney this month are a set of around 25 black and white photographs selected from thousands taken by Moore during the construction of Sydney’s Anzac Bridge.
David Moore creates images that work with geometry and randomness, massive scale and human tinyness, beauty and ugliness and sometimes all these and more are in one picture. I have attached several classic images below with the corrupting influence of library lighting reflecting off the class but you still get the effect. For me it often takes a while to get these photos. Often I miss details of human involvement or some fascinating built in detail with a quick glance. I am a fan of David Moore’s work.








The Poetry Object 2013 @ Customs House Sydney

Exhibitions engage me on many levels. A poetry competition among school students around objects would not be my usual cup of tea. It was at a venue in which there were to other exhibitions I was interested in so I took it in.
The display samples of children’s poetry were on a series of back lit screens in brightly coloured varied fonts. The poems were imaginative and engaging and there were a small sampling of the contribution made by students aged 7 to 17.
I got on the nearby computers and tracked the backers’ site included below and so as a teacher of English to yrs 7 and 8 I am glad I encountered the display.
It was colourful and stimulating but I wish the students were encouraged to match their writing with creating a matching object. There was one object held in a child’s hand but I would have found the pairing more engaging.
To explore this more check things out below:

Rural Habitat with Mobile Workshop Architecture @ Customs House Sydney

On the ground floor of the Customs House in Sydney is an exhibition of an approach to construction for people in poor rural communities. There are a set of display panels on the use of these types of buildings in the developed world on the foyer walls. The star of the exhibition is a small timber version of the basic building being constructed through the work of Mobile Workshop Architecture
The videos on the walls show the local people in Mexico creating a wonderful house / workshop out of a collection of flexible insulated steel reinforcing sheets that are wired together to create a set of tied together arches. The arches are then coloured mud rendered which results in attractive, cheap easy to construct durable accommodation. A fun exhibition.
More on the website