A new photographic exhibition opening at Parliament House today will reveal the faces of those at the forefront of delivering the social housing component of the Rudd government’s stimulus package.
Facing up to the challenge: Images of social housing people is a collection of 46 portraits presenting members of the Australasian Housing Institute. The Institute’s CEO, Joan Ferguson, said the federal government’s recent initiatives on social housing and homelessness represent a historical shift in its approach to housing affordability.
“In February we had an announcement of 20,000 new social housing dwellings, a further 2500 to be upgraded, and a highly important commitment from this government to half homelessness by 2020,” Ms Ferguson said. “After years of neglect, we are finally seeing a renewed focus on the provision of safe, appropriate and affordable housing for those Australians most in need.” Ms Ferguson said the idea for the exhibition came from a discussion about how to represent a professional organisation without reference to brochures, workshops or annual reports. “We wanted to debunk the myth of ‘faceless bureaucrats’. These portraits capture the passion and individuality of volunteers, housing workers, public servants, academics and community builders,” she said. “We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our members. At a time when affordable housing has hit the peak of the national agenda, our aim was to create a lasting visual image of social housing professionals.”
Brisbane photographer Naomi Mawson, who was commissioned by the Institute to create the portrait series, said she was truly inspired by the challenge of putting an identity to the people around Australia who make social housing their passion. “I had a desire to create more than just a good portrait. I drew on inspiration from my subjects and their surrounds to capture their personalities and show a small piece of Australia’s affordable housing story,” Ms Mawson said. The exhibition will be formally launched today by The Hon Tanya Pilbersek MP, Minister for Housing, at 4:15pm in the Presiding Officer’s exhibition area, Parliament House, Canberra.
Facing up to the challenge: Images of social housing people will be open daily from the 11th to the 27th of March, between the hours of 9am and 5pm.