Commissioned as part of SBS's Once Upon A Time In Punchbowl series, The Heart of Punchbowl was a major exhibition that looked into the intimate and rarely seen lives of Lebanese Australians living in Punchbowl in Sydney's south-west.

The Heart of Punchbowl was a major exhibition that looked into the intimate and rarely seen lives of Lebanese Australians living in Punchbowl in Sydney’s south-west. Commissioned as part of SBS’s Once Upon A Time In Punchbowl series, the exhibition featured large-scale portraits and extracts of personal conservations between nine pairs of people, exploring everything from love, death, food and family. The exhibition featured content by acclaimed photographer Andrew Quilty and accomplished journalist Jackie Dent, who spent months researching and getting to know “the pairs”. The result was a loving snapshot of the Lebanese community in Punchbowl, capturing their vibrancy and diversity – as well as breaking down a few stereotypes.

The pairs included fun-loving friends Charbel and Charbel who regularly feed the homeless, Wasim and Zeina, a married couple that run the Muslim section of Rookwood cemetery and international boxing sensation Billy the Kid and his side-kick cousin Reyad. “While on the surface this show is about exploring the lives of the Lebanese community in Punchbowl, on a deeper level, it is also about people and how they love each other, which is something we all connect with,” said journalist Jackie Dent.

The Heart of Punchbowl opened on Thursday 21 November at the Bankstown Arts Centre. In addition to the photography exhibition, SBS took this rich local story to the nation by featuring it online, in a commemorative book and a national tour. The exhibition was presented in partnership with aMBUSH Gallery.

Andrew Quilty, Jackie Dent

Public Art Project
Sydney Metropolitan NSW

Tel: +61 2 8399 0707