Tag Archives: Merrylands

Hazara

Sydney’s western suburbs of Auburn and Merrylands has become home to a thriving community of Afghan Hazaras. Having escaped from from violent persecution in their homeland of Afghanistan, the community still faces many challenges. I began  documenting the Hazara community in 2009 and is continues to work with the community providing support for the newly arrived.

Many of the young people I work with, in particular the Afghans face many questions around identity. Dealing with 3 cultures can be hard to navigate on top of language, housing and schooling issues. Parents born in Afghanistan, children have either grown up or born in Pakistan or Iran and now go to school or work here. Many families strongly encourage their children to maintain that Afghan culture but often after experiencing school here and feeling almost twice removed from the culture ends in a lot of inter-generational conflict.

This edit below is the one I shared on my instagram (https://www.instagram.com/georgevoulgaropoulos/) but I also wanted to share it here on the blog as a record

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Happy New Year

Don’t worry, no more “best of 2013″ lists. Here are some photos from the last 2 weeks. It feels great to be out and about taking photos again. Walking, without a grand narrative in mind, experiencing life through small interactions. 2014 New Year’s resolution… more walks and more experimenting.

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Walkley Magazine

Don’t worry… I’m still alive!

Below is a 2 page spread in this months Walkley Magazine. If you get a chance to see it, bit of text and some images on pages 40 and 41.p40-41_photo_essay3_web

Lots of new images but I can’t share them yet, waiting for the September issue of Sydney Mag. Exciting news is I have officially resigned from my full-time position at the community newspaper group and I’m off on my own working on freelance work, community projects and lots of personal work. I head off late August to Bulgaria and Turkey to spend some time working on the “Son of a Bulgarian” project before heading to Lebanon and Paris for a road trip and family vacation.

I also have some work up at the state library as part of the SMH 1440 exhibit which is located next to the World Press photo exhibition.

 

A Greek Orthodox Atheist

Growing up, I attended a Greek Orthodox school where learning the Greek language was compulsory. Participating in many other religious and cultural traditions was also expected at the school, which were not always an enjoyable experience.  But one thing for certain is now I have no regrets learning the language and regard myself very lucky. When people ask me what my family background is I tell them Greek Orthodox. It’s our easter this weekend, a beautiful time of year with family, full of tradition where I find myself tagging along to a number of family functions. I raise my glass of ouzo to tradition and celebrate diversity… and of course, lamb on a spit.

I think many of the cultural traditions we see today are based on religion. When raising the dialogue around culture I think its important to discuss religion also as many cultures around the world consist of an intricate moulding of the two. I have been trying to explore the different ethnic cultural groups within the western suburbs of Sydney and have come to see that many of the enclaves of cultural groups are identified by their faith.

I personally love the idea of faith. A sense of delusion we all need to get us up out of bed in the morning, suppressing those negative thoughts and idealising the world around us. This requires a small form of delusion and I think I’m ok with that! I don’t care what drives you, what keeps you going, I’m just glad you’re still around.

We need to celebrate this diversity, help maintain culture. It’s this diversity that makes Australia such a great country. I love to photograph people in candid situations, experience life as much as I can. The idea of globalisation or homogenisation of people scares me because if everyone were the same the world would become a stagnant place. It’s this diversity that keeps things interesting, if approached with an open mind, it allows for innovation and a sharing of ideas and culture… and of course, lamb on a spit.

[PLEASE NOTE] Photographs from this update have been removed until they have been published in Sydney Magazine. I will include all images after they appear in the publication.

The Spectators and I

            

Merrylands West

I’ve come home late on a Monday night, bin night, and both bins have already been put out onto the verge. Legend neighbour!  I’m going to kick off this post with my awesome next door neighbour. Andrew welcomed us to Merrylands West when we first moved in. Gave us all the goss from the street and warned me not to park my car on the street just in-case someone speeds and loses control. Every time I see him outside rolling a cigarette or attending to his immaculate lawn and rose beds, I’ll stop and have a chat to see how he is doing and share any news we may have. He is eagerly awaiting the arrival of our +1 always asking how Yomna (my wife) is doing and tries to guess the sex of the baby every time he sees her :)

So I dedicate this post to neighbours and the thing I love most about the areas I photograph, a sense of community.

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