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“Belco’s a hole, but it’s our hole”

By Hoots McTaverna - 22 December 2011 11

As born-raised-educated Tuggeranonian who pulled up stumps a few years ago to chase the money to Melbourne, I’m used to the piteous looks of my trendy Fitzroy neighbours when I try to talk up Canberra’s artistic and cultural credentials.

Well it turns out that those southern Philistines aren’t cooler, just more ignorant. My partner and I are working from Sydney this week, and she tells me her office is abuzz (for certain definitions of “abuzz”) with news of a photography exhibition showing at the oh-so-contemporary Australian Centre for Photography in the Sydney cultural hub of Paddington.

The photographer is Belconnen refugee/returnee Lee Grant (see link for a short interview with Lee). A quick search of The RiotACT reveals that Lee has been around the Canberra photography scene for a while, and we’ve enjoyed some of her work on the site before.

Lee’s Exhibition, “Belco Pride”, explores “the intricacies of living in suburbs that may be dismissed by many but cherished by some. A place where residents take ownership of where they are from, a place that can engender a sense of pride so strong it is literally written onto the body”.

That last point is a none-too-subtle reference to the famous Belco tattoo, as modelled by “Dan” in one of Lee’s photographs. The ACP’s full blurb on the exhibition (including the quote that inspired the title of this post, as well as a sample of pictures that could have been taken from the opening credits of “Angry Boys”) can be found here. I’m no kind of photographer but despite my instinctive reaction to rag on Belco at every opportunity I found myself enjoying the few pics I saw online.

I’ll unfortunately be saying goodbye to Sydney tomorrow night just in time for a Canberra Christmas, so I won’t be able to give you a first hand review of the exhibition. If anyone makes it, I’d love to hear about it. I mean I could go and experience Belconnen first hand, but my Hep-C shots are out of date.

In all seriousness, good work Lee and good work ACP for recognising her talent. Belco Pride is showing at the ACP until January 15.

-Hoots

P.S. Tuggerz 4 lyfe, Wanniassa High reprezent etc etc.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
“Belco’s a hole, but it’s our hole”
Skidd Marx 1:42 pm 24 Dec 11

I always felt like pride should be the product of something achieved rather than something incidental.

I have blue eyes. Should I be getting “Blue Pride” inked all over my body?

Battlecat 11:55 am 24 Dec 11

I’m Tuggeranong through and through (I even have a white Commodore) but I saw this exhibition in Canberra and it’s very good, I recommend it.

Deref 3:06 pm 23 Dec 11

toriness said :

“a cathartic experience in which she reconciled her perception of place with its banal and vernacular reality”.

😀 You’ve gotta love people with a sense of humour.

GardeningGirl 1:30 pm 23 Dec 11

Thumper said :

don’t you just love artspeak? included in the exhibition description: “a cathartic experience in which she reconciled her perception of place with its banal and vernacular reality”.

I took photos of everyday boring stuff.

+1 🙂

Jethro 11:17 am 23 Dec 11

LSWCHP said :

I don’t get it. I live in a northside suburb, and I obviously would rather live here than somewhere else, otherwise I’d live somewhere else. It’s a pleasant and comfortable and relatively civilised existence compared to almost anywhere else on the planet that I’ve been, and I’ve been to a few places.

There seems to be some tendency to paint parts of Canberra as being urban hellholes like the southside of Chicago or south central LA. Yeah, there’s bogans and a few hoods around, but hardly anybody is shooting rival crack dealers in turf wars in Kaleen.

Agreed.

Belco, like the rest of Canberra, is mostly very, very middle class.

devils_advocate 10:36 am 23 Dec 11

Okwhatever said :

LSWCHP said :

……. but hardly anybody is shooting rival crack dealers in turf wars in Kaleen.

Hardly any you say?

Lets leave K-town out of this. Everybody knows that charnwood is where the drive-by-shootings and stabbings happen.

Thumper 8:52 am 23 Dec 11

don’t you just love artspeak? included in the exhibition description: “a cathartic experience in which she reconciled her perception of place with its banal and vernacular reality”.

I took photos of everyday boring stuff.

Classified 8:09 am 23 Dec 11

Compared with some places, even the worst of Canberra is pretty tame.

Okwhatever 7:46 am 23 Dec 11

LSWCHP said :

……. but hardly anybody is shooting rival crack dealers in turf wars in Kaleen.

Hardly any you say?

toriness 4:25 am 23 Dec 11

don’t you just love artspeak? included in the exhibition description: “a cathartic experience in which she reconciled her perception of place with its banal and vernacular reality”.

it does sound like an interesting exhibition, although as LSWCHP says (and this is just based on the sample pictures on the ACP website) it does seem to present a stereotyped view of belco. i know we all like to have a little joke about how bogan belco is but it certainly isn’t populated with those who tattoo their suburb/satellite city on their body. i appreciate that it’s the artist’s perspective/experience/interpretation of a subject etc but talk about arming sydney-ites with more ammunition about canberra…. or will it make them realise we’re not a boring pube city as they like to think?

LSWCHP 9:09 pm 22 Dec 11

I don’t get it. I live in a northside suburb, and I obviously would rather live here than somewhere else, otherwise I’d live somewhere else. It’s a pleasant and comfortable and relatively civilised existence compared to almost anywhere else on the planet that I’ve been, and I’ve been to a few places.

There seems to be some tendency to paint parts of Canberra as being urban hellholes like the southside of Chicago or south central LA. Yeah, there’s bogans and a few hoods around, but hardly anybody is shooting rival crack dealers in turf wars in Kaleen.

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