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A photography exhibition by Leith Alexander
April 10, 2021 – May 8, 2021
NEXIS (Narrogin Exhibition Space)
82 Federal St, Narrogin
Opening Night: Saturday 10 April 2021, 6pm
Exhibition on until Saturday 8 May 2021
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm.
Shearing is a whole sub-culture of its own, specific to the country. It’s a mix of old school and new. It’s a job that’s been around for a hundred years and its barely changed, but then there are all these modern young people going into the industry with mullets and mohawks and tatts. It’s a look that reminds me of city crust punks but in these iconically Australian backdrops.
And there’s something about the industry that still feels wild and unregulated. You can look and do whatever you want as long as you’re getting the job done and treating the sheep with respect. In some ways, a shearer can be their own boss; the amount of money they take home depends on how many sheep they’ve shorn. But at the same time, shearing is the hardest physical job in the world! And there’s no paid leave so shearers, rouseabouts and wool pressers need to earn the money while they can before the season ends or leave town to follow the work.
My background is in sound, so I’d never really “done” photography, but I’ve always found the shearing industry and the people in it fascinating. I wanted to showcase the people in shearing; champion their hard work and get them out to audiences who wouldn’t usually have the chance to see or know someone in shearing.