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Darlinghurst, Kings Cross


In my naivety, I accompanied a friend and her three year old daughter to Sydney for a visit. It was to be for three weeks. I was around twenty and curious about this city called Sydney. It turned out that we were to be staying in the squats in Darlinghurst, a robust place full of squatters. It was a completely new, strange, shocking and surprising place full of mostly youngsters or people made old by their habit, who lounged about in the languid state caused by the soporific effects of the drugs. There were punks, hair coloured and raised in the salute of uprising, spiky like their caustic comments when they met this unpolished me. Rings screwed into every part; lips, tongues, eyebrows, nostrils and navels. There were corners occupied by boys rolled into balls buried beneath their salvation army sleeping bags, they hardly moved and I often wondered if they were yet dead. There were evenings of scavenged banquets, where under the candle light we would meet and mix with many and eat together happily, what we had managed to cook up. Many a day was spent in the cafes, a coffee ordered early in the day gave us license to sit perched round the table for hours, chatting as the citizens from this strange corner of the city would pass by, a conversation that might speak of politics, deals gone awry, hallucinations or begging for a dollar. I wasn't tempted to try the potions offered, I'm ever grateful for that early self awareness. I took care of the child, took photos and marveled at the inventiveness of those who have so little to make so much. It was the start of the consciousness about the issue of Uranium mining, single parents, cycling, the rights and opportunities of artisans and artists. When I came back to Adelaide, I went back to college and put my hand at graphics, printmaking, painting and photography. Here are some of what I created after that strange month in Darlinghurst.

I took one roll of film, it was negative SLR and it was only when I had the film developed did I realise I had double exposed the whole roll. So my whole trip is documented in this hallucinatory way.

The things I saw, oil on canvas, Saren Dobkins

Chairs, Pastel on paper, Saren Dobkins

Catch 22, photosilkscreen, Saren Dobkins

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Darling it Hurts Mural, Saren Dobkins