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Fascinating exhibitions explore pop culture

What is it about sneakers?

There’s this young fellow in my circle who can’t get enough of them, buying a new pair every chance he gets.

And when he does, he takes a photo and posts it on his Instagram account with the usual hashtags, such as #newsneakers and so on.

Maybe a new exhibition coming to South West Sydney next month can answer some of these questions about sneakers and popular culture in general.

It will be one of two new exhibitions being launched at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on February 1.

The exhibitions, which explore control and the complex politics of getting dressed, are titled Fre$h Pair and Hi Vis.

 Fre$h Pair investigates self expression in youth culture through the phenomenon of sneakers.

The exhibition documents individuals and communities who showcase the nuances of sneakers worn by Millennials and Generation Z.

Fre$h Pair speaks to critical themes of street culture and its influence on fashion and pop culture at large.

In Hi Vis, artists such as Nicole Oliveria, Leila el Rayes, JD Reforma, Joan Ross, Matthew Stegh and others explore dancing and dressing as fabulous forms of empowerment.

Each of the artists demonstrate control through the spectacle of dance and dress.

By being irresistible to look at, the artists can control an onlooker’s attention and push them to engage a range of complex political ideas while still being entertaining to watch.

The artists and their artworks are fabulous, but they are also using these art forms because they create a necessary form of defence.

Through being impossible to ignore, they create a defence against violence, a defence against forgetting troubling histories, and a defence against not being seen at all.

Both exhibitions sound fascinating, which is not something you can say about a lot of modern art.

They will both be at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre between February 1 and March 15.

Viewing times are 9am and 4pm.

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