Tracksuits of St Marys

10 February to 8 April 2007

Curator: Victoria Harbutt
Photographer: Harold David
The Tracksuits of St Marys exhibition project was a multidisciplinary blend of photography, sculptural installation, museology and community cultural development practice that explored the tracksuit through portraits, actual garments, a soundtrack and a magazine. The exhibition surveyed the historical, cultural and political significance of tracksuits and their wearers, by focusing on the tracksuit-wearing people of St Marys and other VIPs. The exhibition project was inspired by the continuing efforts of the St Marys community to maintain and strengthen themselves through positive activity; it was especially dedicated to the memory of the “Black Power salute” protest of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and celebrated the strength of character displayed by Australian athlete Peter Norman. The exhibition was both garment and character driven and presented the tracksuit as a political and social motif. The photographic component of the exhibition toured to Hakusan City and Fujieda City, Japan in March and June 2007 and to Carriageworks, Sydney in 2009. A ninety-six page magazine style catalogue was produced. It is bilingual, for use in Japan and includes many of Harold David’s photographs, a list of works and an introduction by Curator Victoria Harbutt; an academic essay by Dr Vicki Karaminas (University of Technology Sydney, Design School) and a short article about the Mexico ‘68 Olympics by Paul Jenes (President, World Association of Sports Statisticians).

Throughout 2005 and 2006, curator Victoria Harbutt and photographer Harold David attended community events in St Marys and produced a series of ‘tracksuit’ focused free events and workshops where people were photographed in their favourite tracksuit.

The exhibition included:

–          seventy-five photographic portraits by Harold David
–          fifty one garments including an ‘action collection’ of tracksuits as worn in the portraits, installed in the Gallery as running figures on a track and a ‘spectator collection’ of garments borrowed from VIPs of the St Marys community and other sport, dance and music stars – installed as if standing in support on the sidelines.
a soundtrack drawn from the music of the civil/human rights era and the music of tracksuit inclined musicians to the present
–          Peter Norman photos and personal memorabilia documenting the 1968 Olympics and his ongoing relationship with American athletes Tommy Smith and John Carlos
–          Magazine style catalogue
–          education and public program events
In keeping with the Gallery’s audience development strategies it also offered a range of educational opportunities that present tailored events for targeted sectors of our community. Including:
–        A women’s motivational breakfast exploring the concept of a tracksuit as a symbol of action.
–         Japanese and French language interpreted tours.
–         An Auslan interpreted tour that included tactile elements for audience members with a disability.

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