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Memories, metals and multisensory realms at Casula Powerhouse
Laka immerses audiences in Hindu and Yolngu ways of seeing the world.

SYDNEY.- Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre unveiled three brand new exhibitions merging past, present and future, showcasing intercultural connection to home, iconic Western Sydney architecture, and one of the Earth’s most malleable metals.

Running 28 July – 16 September, the three exhibitions include: multisensory project Laka, revealing the long held connections between Yolngu and Hindu worldviews; large-scale illustrations Estate of Tomorrow, a nostalgic retrospective on once-utopian Western Sydney public housing estates; and Copper, showcasing the metal’s endless applications in art.

The launch also includes a free screening of the Laka feature film. The cross-cultural love story follows Sri Lankan Australian man Siddhartha and Yolngu woman Lily as they prepare for the birth of their first child. From a kiss in Sydney suburbia to a bush birth in the Arnhem Land wilderness, the film and exhibition explore an agonising choice between the love of homeland and family.

“These exhibitions are all about drawing from rich histories, as we hurtle towards the future - from the union of two diverse cultural identities in Laka, presented in full for the first time, to a re-evaluation of Green Valley fibro homes in 2168; Estate of Tomorrow, and Copper’s celebration of crafting techniques throughout time,” said CPAC Director Craig Donarski.

Inspired by their grandparents’ experiences, Western Sydney artists S. Shakthidharan and Rosealee Pearson’s multi-platform Laka draws intriguing parallels between Sri Lankan and Yolngu culture. Developed by CuriousWorks, the project comprises intimate virtual reality experience Laka: Creation exploring creation stories in an other-worldly womb; audio-visual installation Laka: Dream pondering ancestry through dreams; and a screening of feature film Laka.

Renowned Western Sydney artist Catherine O’Donnell’s 2168; Estate of Tomorrow features large-scale illustrated recreations of mid-century public housing estates - now icons of Western Sydney suburbia. Championing the overlooked and ordinary, Catherine’s flawless drawings highlight their humanistic elements, and their origins as utopian solutions to rising population and affordability concerns.

From the artisanal to the innovative, Copper is an expansive showcase of the infinite applications of the highly pliable metal. Featuring Archibald Prize talent David Fairbairn and Natasha Walsh, National Art School Head of Ceramics Merran Esson, Western Sydney coppersmith Shireen Taweel (Al Jaale’ah : Locally Global – CPAC 2017) and more, the exhibition celebrates copper’s malleability across printmaking, jewellery, sculpture, ceramics, painting, glass work and sound manipulation.

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