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From Canberra to New York, photographers take taste of capital life to Big Apple

Lonsdale Roaster's Al Evans and Canberra Lab's Ronan Moss will set up a pop-up in New York featuring a coffee bar and the work of local photographers Stella-Rae Zelnik and Lee Grant.

Lonsdale Roaster's Al Evans and Canberra Lab's Ronan Moss will set up a pop-up in New York featuring a coffee bar and the work of local photographers Stella-Rae Zelnik and Lee Grant. Photo: Jay Cronan

If Belco can make it there, it can make it anywhere – a taste of suburban life in Canberra is off to New York, New York.

Well, Brooklyn, New York to be more precise, where New Yorkers will have the opportunity to step inside a shipping container and be transported around the world to a microcosm of the Australian capital, complete with Canberra’s own coffee, culture, and art.

I think everybody does relate to it on some strange level. And it’s not just about suburbia, it’s about community and the people that live in it 

Lee Grant, photographer

Architecture group Canberra Lab have sent the capital’s latest Centenary-sponsored pop-up to PhotoVille, a village of freight containers that will transform the banks of the East River into a pocket of art and culture for two weeks in September.

After a number of successful exhibitions in Australia, images Lee Grant's 'Belco Pride', including this portrait of Dan, will be shown in Canberra Lab's New York pop-up. Click for more photos

CanberraVille in New York: taste of capital at PhotoVille festival

Canberra Lab in conjunction with the Canberra Centenary and Lonsdale Street Roasters will set up a taste of Canberra in New York at the photo festival PhotoVille, featuring coffee, photography, and more. Photo: Lee Grant

With Manhattan as its backdrop, CanberraVille will feature the work of local photographers, and plans to sell a special Centenary blend of coffee beans by Lonsdale Street Roasters, for an estimated 50,000 visitors or more.

Photographers for the mini gallery were chosen to present atypical views of Canberra, such as Lee Grant, whose book and works titled Belco Pride turned the lens away from the capital’s traditional icons and towards life in the northern suburbs.

“That was pretty exciting to have Belco represent a little bit in the Big Apple,” Ms Grant said.

While she won’t be there herself to see it, a handful of her 65 images will be pasted up inside the shipping container, and the book itself for sale. Despite the distance, Ms Grant is confident New Yorkers will connect with the images.

“I think everybody does relate to it on some strange level. And it’s not just about suburbia, it’s about community and the people that live in it. And we’re all social creatures and we live in communities,” she said.

Another local photographer, Stella-Rae Zelnik, said her photos of skateparks, house parties, and streetscapes are universal scenes, but she’s curious what New Yorkers might see in the pictures.

“It will be interesting to see what they think, because I think what they all see and what Canberra is is probably going to be quite different,” she said. “They probably won’t even really know too much about Canberra, and they’ll just see this thing and go this place looks pretty cool.”

The exhibition will also make use of images from the PhotoAccess book 100 Views of Canberra.

The pop-up was curated by Julian Hobba and Canberra Lab’s Ronan Moss, and Mr Moss said they were hopeful the American audience would see a different Canberra to the one they may have encountered in the media or tourism brochures.

“It’s like a microcosm of Canberra life in New York. And the idea is the pop-up, even though it’s a relatively small structure, will be engaging and represent Canberra in an unexpected and unique way,” he said.

The festival runs from September 19 to 29, during which time Canberra Lab will provide updates and photos via its website and Twitter.

6 comments so far

  • Oh wow. That's a seriously cool tat. It's inspired me to finally go and get "Deakin" tattooed across my forehead in gothic font.

    Good luck with the exhibit. Should really challenge how Brooklyn and the whole of New York sees us.

    Commenter
    Meat Cat
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    September 16, 2013, 12:09PM
    • Mmm hang on a second Meat Cat, I'm not sure "Deakin" is quite street enough...........er Bro. "Deako" not really doing it either I realise, How about just 2600, or maybe D2600?? Or shorten it again to maybe "D26". Anyway I would hate for you to look really silly and try-hard so maybe it might be worth just moving to Belco so you can justify your tried and tested "Belco" tatt. Hey, at least you know it will look "seriously cool".

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      September 16, 2013, 1:36PM
  • Sounds interesting and worthwhile. Unlike the Skywhale which had only one imaginary but illegal advantage which was picturing the best way to destroy it...bazooka was my favourite :-)

    Commenter
    wooandwow
    Location
    Scullin
    Date and time
    September 16, 2013, 12:18PM
    • Finally New York will get some decent coffee. That city and America generally has the worst coffee in the world. Americans just don't get it, when it comes to coffee.

      Commenter
      Coffee Nut
      Location
      Belconnen
      Date and time
      September 16, 2013, 2:07PM
      • Shipping containers are so passé. Typical Canberra trying to be cool well after the proverbial ship has sailed. Nothing from this place is innovative; just stolen ideas poorly executed. The exhibition will be like a narcissists facebook profile where everything seems a little more grand than it really is. Kudos to the design community for trying to improve the sea of grey suits, franchise coffee and alucabond cladding; shame it’s just trying to replicate Melbourne.

        Commenter
        J.RD
        Date and time
        September 16, 2013, 2:39PM
        • Great. Like Australia needed to show of boganism....

          Commenter
          XYZ
          Location
          Singapore
          Date and time
          September 16, 2013, 2:52PM

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