13 May – 21 June 2020

Hayley Megan French

The Pipeline (A Suburban Painting Project)

This is the first exhibition of Hayley Megan French’s ongoing project The Pipeline, a suburban painting project across Guildford NSW, Kununurra WA and Toowoomba QLD.

Since late 2018 French has been documenting and translating her experience of living in Guildford – a Western Sydney suburb, the unceded home of the Bidjigal Clan of the Darug Nation, now home to the largest population of Arabic speaking diaspora in Australia and the Pipehead, which controls Sydney’s water supply system. 

This documentation began by taking polaroid photographs, first of her home and backyard, then walking her neighbourhood. Walking has been important to this process—as Frédéric Gros writes, it is a slow approach to landscapes that gradually renders them familiar.1 The details of French’s suburban landscape become inscribed in her body as she walks past the Arabic Gospel Church next door to buy bread from the family-run grocer, as she crosses the pipeline to leave for work. These details become home. 

This process extended to a slower and more constant painting process for French, painting over the polaroids to spend time with them, to develop an intentional understanding of the place in which she chooses to live. 

In 2019 this project expanded to include two suburbs with which French feels a strong connection—Kununurra in WA and Toowoomba in QLD, each represented by a distinct 4-colour palette. This project is born from the in-between space of the suburbs where, to borrow Felicity Castagna’s words, our imaginary, memory and desire collide to form our observations of where we are standing.2

1 Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking, 2015.

2 Felicity Castagna, Suburbia and The National Narrative, 2015.