Ceramics and More

» Collingwood Housing Estate » The Homeless Gallery

The Homeless Gallery

Crowding the Car Park

In October 2003, a thousand people came to the opening of a photographic exhibition in a cavernous underground former car park at the Collingwood housing estate. During the following week, an estimated nine thousand visitors trooped through the space. Mounted on walls and free-standing panels were the images of three hundred and seventy photographers, some ten per cent of whom were estate residents.

This unconventional exhibition, entitled The Homeless Gallery, was organised by the Collingwood Housing Estate Arts Committee, The Collingwood Neighbourhood House, The Melbourne Fringe Festival and a group of photographers called The Free Radicals.

BEEM: Koori Art Goes Large

One of the most fascinating groups on the estate is BEEM, a group of indigenous Australian artists. BEEM is an anagram of the names of some of the original members, but no one seems to remember which ones. 

BEEM kicked off when one of them, Eugene, was having his hair cut by Ivan, the local barber. This particular day, Eugene realised he'd always had his cut while he sat staring at a blank wall in the mirror of the barber-shop. So Eugene told Ivan: that wall needs a mural! Then he went off, spoke to his friends and they painted a brilliant mural on the wall. 

Since then they've painted murals for the police, the ANZ Bank, the Collingwood Harvest Festival, lots of places. Sometimes they get more major projects than the core group can handle, so they bring in indigenous artists from  interstate.