This exhibition of photographs was made in collaboration with a diverse group of people in Wollongong, NSW. Photographer Tom Williams first came across the community in a large motel car park near the centre of the city, where individuals and families regularly join together for an evening meal, organised by a local woman who has experienced homelessness. He was deeply inspired to see how an otherwise disused and barren place was put to use in a creative way that provided a needed service and that also created a sense of friendship and family.
While most people attend the dinners due to economic necessity, the feeling of community and mutual support is key. In the summer of 2017, the community began a collaborative photographic project that not only had economic benefits but more importantly was a means for storytelling, experimentation, creativity and enjoyment. The images and stories here are in many cases connected to some of the challenges faced by our society, but also a reminder that every challenge is met by an individual with a unique story to tell.
Hunger is a growing problem in Australia: according to Foodbank, 652,000 people receive ‘food relief’ from its agencies monthly, 27% being children. A 2012 ANU survey found that 8% of Australians said they were unable to afford food.
This project is the inaugural recipient of Stories of NSW – The NSW Arts Minister’s Award for Visual Storytelling.
Curated by Moshe Rosenzveig OAM, Creative Director, Head On Photo Festival, Stories of NSW aims to record contemporary life in New South Wales, so we take control of our own narrative and make sense of who we are and what makes our nation so unique.
This exhibition is supported by
Tom Williams studied photography at the National Art School before becoming a documentary photographer and photojournalist. While working for a variety of print and online media he also dedicated his time to long term projects, particularly around subjects and communities not often featured in mainstream media. He has become increasingly focused on engaging and collaborating with people and communities in order to reflect their stories.
His work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally; recognition includes the 2009 CCP Documentary Photography Award. Exhibition partners include The Centre for Contemporary Photography, Ambush Gallery, Sydney Theatre Company, Head On Photo Festival.
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