Bee Cruse
Taste Tour of Lakemba
Sara Mansour - Bankstown Poetry Slam

Kon Gouriotis – It’s Our Thing: More History on Australian Hip-Hop (Part II)

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Blacktown Arts Centre has a great exhibition running at the moment – It’s Our Thing: More History on Australian Hip-Hop (Part II). The exhibition showcases 14 artists and the explosion of hip-hop culture in Blacktown during the 1990s, along with its impact on current artistic practices, with works to be found both inside and outside of the centre. We chatted with one of the shows curators, Kon Gouriotis – a Western Sydney native, born in Fairfield and now living in Casula. Kon has an impressive resume with 13 years as director and curator at Casula Power House, before moving on to be ‘Director – Visual Arts’ at Australia Council for the Arts; and then a short stint as Director of Australia Centre for Photography. He edits and writes for Arts Profile and while I could go on, all you really need to know is that he is a great guy and absolute champion for the Arts. We chatted about the beginning of his career and how a project in Blacktown has led him to be on of the most respected names in the Australian art world.  Continue Reading

Toufick Chami – Meraki Merchants

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Meraki Merchants cafe has quickly become a favourite of The Westies, serving up Parramatta’s best coffee – yep, we called it-  and good quality simple food that never disappoints. Owner, cook and barista Toufick Chami is constantly experimenting and developing new additions to the menu, proving space is not something you need to make a delicious meal. In this small cafe a strong sense of wonder, a cup of ambition and a serving of friendly hospitality are the ingredients that make for a great cafe experience – that and the cakes (home baked by Toufick’s mum – YUM!)  Continue Reading

Locale Festival – Cumberland Council

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Western Sydney has long been a catch-all phrase for anything outside the Inner West, reaching all the way south to Sutherland and as far west as the mountains. And by encompassing such a huge area, that means that no matter where in the West you are living, there is always something happening, somewhere new to explore and new influences to make your taste buds tingle. It’s also super difficult to keep track of all that’s going on, we almost missed out on Locale Festival and we don’t want you to either so here’s your heads up!  Continue Reading

Natalie Anne

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One of Australia’s best hairstylists – Natalie Anne has strong Western Sydney roots growing up in Punchbowl before moving to Moorebank and now living in Croydon where she can walk to work at her beautiful salon, where she employs 13 staff.  We chatted about leaving school at a young age, working for free and where she see’s herself, five years from now.  Continue Reading

Danny Elacci

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After following the conventional (read safe) path of going to uni, getting a degree and then starting his own business in security, Danny Elacci decided it was time to follow is real passion. Acting – which had been something that attracted him since he was in school and after seeing a friend perform on stage – he changed direction and headed down the acting path with a bag of determination and healthy dose of life experience. With a short film that has just been screened at Cannes, a couple of feature international films in the works and most recently playing the role of Ali in Urban Theatre projects Home Country, Danny may have started later then some but is coming out leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.  Continue Reading

Amalina Aman

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Amalina Aman knows a thing or two about challenges. Having been told from a young age by the community around her that fashion design wasn’t an appropriate career choice for an Australian Muslim woman, Amalina set out to prove them wrong by releasing her line of modest fashion that has now been seen on catwalks around the world. The Westies sat down for a chat about the journey so far and how Lakemba will always have a huge influence her designs. 
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Amna Karra-Hussan – Auburn Giants

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When Amna Karra-Hussan decided she wanted to play AFL there was one issue that would stop most people in their tracks – no women’s AFL team existed in Western Sydney. Not seeing it as an issue, Aman decided to start her own and is now President of the Auburn Giants who have just entered their seventh season with all signs pointing towards a premiership for the club in the not too distant future. On a chilly autumn evening The Westies stopped by a training session to chat with one of the most warm, endearing and motivated people you are likely to meet. We chatted about how Amna started the club, the importance of women playing sport (far more than exercise) and the doors that open for you once you start knocking.  Continue Reading

Stories of Strength – Abdullah Sankari

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The Westies love a good story and believe that it is our individual story that makes us human – each of us have one that is as unique as our finger print. It is in sharing the story that we come to empathise with each other and start to see that the commonalities are far greater than our differences.

‘Stories of Strength’ is a project run by Bankstown Youth Development Services, which is about showcasing local Bankstown stories, focusing on experiences of strength and resilience. These stories are generated through a series of interviews conducted by local young people, who interview selected community members. Through inter-generational sharing of cross-cultural stories, the project aims to highlight the strength that individual experiences bring to create a strong and resilient community.

We had the pleasure of meeting a wise young man named Abdullah Sankari who interviewed Ilona Abou Zalouf, his best friend’s Grandmother who grew up in Germany during the Cold War for the ‘Stories of Strength’ project. We chatted about his experience with the project and what he learnt about strength and the power of sharing stories. Continue Reading

4Elements All Ages HipHop Festival 2017 – Review

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Last Saturday The Westies headed down to the Bankstown Arts Centre to check out 4Elements – all ages HipHop festival, hosted in Western Sydney with a real focus on local talent.  Continue Reading

LIFE’S SWEET ON EAT STREET!

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Parramatta’s Eat Street is always a hub of activity over the weekend, with people spilling across crossings and out of restaurants onto streets, revelling in the weekend, the incredible mix of restaurants and the beautiful weather that we have been having lately. But you know what isn’t so great and picturesque? Car parks.

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