Magnify Festival: Exploring Blacktown’s Art Scene

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Blacktown Arts is a recognised leader in the development of contemporary arts in Australia, presenting an award-winning curated program of exhibitions, performances, workshops, residencies and events. The organisation is committed to exploring dynamic, culturally diverse work that reflects Blacktown, its history and its communities. Blacktown Arts places Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities at the heart of its program to develop new work drawing on issues of local and global significance. The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre is an initiative of Blacktown City Council and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Experience the rich artistic talent within Blacktown in a brand new way this August and September with the premiere of Magnify festival.  Reaching from The Ponds in the north to Dawson Mall in the west, Magnify will activate sites across Blacktown with music, theatre, dance, film and installations. Local artists and communities will share stories of the region through 8 new creative experiences in intimate and distinct settings.

Unique art experiences, embedded in unique spaces, will provide an exciting backdrop to the premiere of eight new works with activations taking place in laneways, showgrounds, restaurants, nursing homes, libraries and The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre.

‘Magnify offers local residents a chance to explore familiar parts of their city in a whole new way,’ said Mayor Stephen Bali MP. “It re-imagines the way we create art, where and how we tell stories, inspiring the wider population of Sydney to get on the train, and experience what Blacktown is really all about.’

Eight newly commissioned artworks will be unveiled, featuring collaborations with more than twenty artists from Western Sydney, with guests from outside the region, such as internationally acclaimed artist Ursula Yovich.

Magnify Artists
Magnify Artists / Credit: Anna Kucera

Program highlights include:

Spoken: Experience a unique pop-up performance event in the laneways of Mount Druitt. This unique program curated by OpnSrc features young artists in spoken word, hip-hop, live music and break dance from across the Blacktown region.

Dates | 5 September 2019
Time | 5 pm
Duration | 1 hour
Location | Dawson Mall, Mount Druitt
Cost | Free

Magnify Artists
Magnify Artist / Credit: Anna Kucera


Amplified: Brothers Earnest and Andrew Aaron collaborate on a multimedia immersive art installation, fusing experimental sound manipulation, sampling and improvisation through digital and analogue technologies. Field recordings, video and photography are utilised to magnify the everyday sights and sounds of the local neighbourhood.

Dates | 3 – 17 August 2019 . Performance + Artist Talk 10 August 2019.
Time | 10 am – 5 pm. (Performance + Artist Talk, 3pm)
Location | The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
Cost | Free

Woven Home: What does it mean to weave and create your own space? What does it mean to be home? Local artist Naomi Hamer has been collaborating with residents of Blacktown’s North Western suburbs to create a bold new work that weaves conversations around place, home and connection. Made collectively by local residents using different textile materials, the artwork will hang proudly in the Dennis Johnson Branch Library.

Dates | 7 – 30 August 2019
Time | n/a
Duration | n/a
Location | Dennis Johnson Library, Stanhope Gardens
Cost | Free

Vonne Patiag

Blacktown Shorts: Blacktown Shorts will showcase the creative work of 5 local voices: Herbert Leota, Wayne Tunks, Lily Cheng, Sabina Giado and Thuy Nguyen. From an exploration of diversity in the fashion industry, to an intimate love letter to the Sri Lankan Muslim diaspora, celebrate our emerging local film industry in a cosy afternoon filled with film, nibbles and live music.

Dates | 24 August 2019
Time | 3 pm
Duration | 1.5 hours
Location | The Blacktown Showground Precinct
Cost | Full price $15 or concession $10 (includes booking fee)


Perceptions – Prohibido dar el cante: Blacktown Arts invites the wider community to an intimate Spanish fiesta at Residential Gardens, The Spanish Speaking Frail Aged Nursing home in Rooty Hill. Become immersed in Flamenco guitar recitals by world renowned guitarist Paco Lara, while feasting on paella and churros. The afternoon will culminate in the premiere of a new dance performance by Pepa Molina, Perceptions – Prohibido dar el cante. This new performance explores and celebrates the joys of movement and memory inspired by conversations with residents.

Dates | 15 September 2019
Time | 2 pm
Duration | 1.5 hours
Location | Courtyard, Holy Family Parish, Mount Druitt
Cost | Full price $20, concession $15 or family $40 (2 adults + 2 children aged 12 – 17) (includes booking fee)


The Good Woman: The Good Woman is a new play about the courage to speak up for yourself and for others. Based on the true stories and experiences of Blacktown-based social worker Maryam Zahid, founder of the online movement Afghan Women on the Move, The Good Woman will take audiences on an intimate journey that is private and public, thoughtful and witty, authentic and true.

Magnify will run across 7 weeks from 3 August – 15 September 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 9.10.24 AM


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