Country Always

Country Always

Caring for Country

A Corner of the Empire

A Corner of the Empire

The Garden Palace

The Holding Pen

The Holding Pen

The Agricultural Hall

Regional Networks

Regional Networks

Across New South Wales

A Museum of Doing

A Museum of Doing

Technological Museum

Transforming the Tramsheds

Transforming the Tramsheds

Powerhouse Stage 1 and the Harwood Building

A Symbol in Time

A Symbol in Time

Sydney Observatory

Ongoing Transformations

Ongoing Transformations

Powerhouse Ultimo

Applied Arts and Sciences

Applied Arts and Sciences

Defining the terms in the 21st century

Photographs Are Gifts That Come To You Like Fish In A Stream

Photographs Are Gifts That Come To You Like Fish In A Stream

Photography Commission

Powerhouse Renewal

Powerhouse Renewal

Sydney Science Festival

Sydney Science Festival

Across Sydney10—17 Aug
Exoskeleton

Exoskeleton

Powerhouse Parramatta

Blak Powerhouse

Blak Powerhouse

Powerhouse x We Are Warriors

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Stories

Photographs Are Gifts That Come To You Like Fish In A Stream

Photography Commission
Photographs by Garry Trinh, handwritten notes by Jason Phu

Stand on the steps leading to Powerhouse and look towards the Capitol Theatre. In between are the streets of Chinatown where you can almost see all the places I stood to make these photographs.

In 2022 I had the pleasure and privilege to focus my love for the offbeat, humorous, candid moment on to the streets and people of Chinatown. I made these photographs while waiting for bubble tea at Yomie’s, getting a haircut at Jack’s, attending an exhibition at 4A, having lunch at Happy Chef, lining up for custard puffs at Emperor’s Garden, shopping at Paddy’s Markets and the many other places I frequented.

It was in Chinatown I was first mistaken for artist Jason Phu. It has happened so often it has become a running joke between us. We’re both Vietnamese/Chinese/Australian but look nothing alike. It seemed appropriate Jason would be the one to write some words to accompany my photographs. His poems were installed and photographed in the scenes where they were inspired. Together with my images they are a celebration of Chinatown.

– Garry Trinh

A brown wig lies on the ground with Tortina Dark wrappers.
Note reading “IN AN ANCIENT CHINA THAT DOESN’T EXIST THE SHAMAN OR SHAMAN WOULD HAVE SEEN THIS AND HAD AN ORGASM”
False nails in different patterns of pink, black, white and brown on a table with a pair of secateurs.
Note reading “LONG NAILS USED TO BE SYMBOLS OF WEALTH NOW THEY ARE SYMBOLS OF WEALTH IN FRANCE HAVING A HEAD USED TO BE A SYMBOL OF WEALTH SO THEY BROUGHT IN THE GUILLOTINE”
Person from behind wearing an eclectic assortment of clothes.
Note reading “RANDOM CLOTHES LADY SONG WRITERS WOULD WRITE SONGS ABOUT YOU AND THOSE SONGS WOULD BE IN THE TOP 100 AT LEAST”
A clock on a tall building illuminated by the sunset through two shaded buildings.
Note reading “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE THEY SAY AT 5:17PM YOU’RE PROBABLY STILL STUCK IN TRAFFIC OR MAYBE YOU ARE AT THE BEACH”
A figure sitting at the bus stop, the photograph is taken through the perspex of the bus stop shelter.
Note reading “JIM WAS HERE, JAMES WAS HERE, SALLY WAS HERE, JIM IS A DOG, JAMES IS A CAT, SALLY IS A TYRANNOSAURUS REX IN ANCIENT ROME THEY WROTE THE SAME THINGS EXCEPT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ‘ASTERIX & OBELIX WAS HERE, THE ROMANS SUCK’”
A tissue inside a Messina ice cream cup, the Messina cup is inside the top of a traffic cone.
Note reading “SOMETIMES THINGS JUST FIT SO NICELY LIKE TWO LOVERS IN BED LIKE A HAND IN A GLOVE LIKE TWO WELL CRAFTED PIECES IN A DOVETAIL JOINT LIKE A PIECE OF SNOTTY TISSUE SMOOSHED INTO A MESSINA ICE CREAM CUP CRAMMED IN THE TOP OF A TRAFFIC CONE”
A red shopping trolley with two wheels leaning up against a blue sign with a white bird on it.
Note reading “LIKE DORAMUNIS ENDLESS POCKET THE NANNA TROLLEY IS PRETTY MUCH ENDLESS IT COULD CARRY PROBABLY 6 WATERMELONS”
A brown electric bike seat with numbers 1-10 written on the pole connecting the seat to the bike.
Note reading “AN ELEGANT CRANE HAS APPEARED BUT YOU ARE MISTAKEN IT IS ACTUALLY JUST A BIKE SEAT POKEMON”
Two people lead back to back on a silver street bollard. They are both wearing navy and white sneakers, black shirts and blue masks.
Note reading “IN THE SHELL GAME ONLY TWO THINGS MOVE AND THEY ARE YOUR EYES”
A figure with a handlebar moustache in a Spider Man costume sits on a bench. A tram is in the background.
Note reading “WHAT IS REAL? THE MAN ON THE STREET THE MAN ON THE BILLBOARD / OR THE PLASTIC TOY FIGURINE OF THE MAN THAT REPEATS ‘I’M THE REAL ONE!’”
A blue car is parked on the side of the road, a yellow and black road barrier board is in the foreground.
Note reading “BLUE CARS ARE THE BEST CARS BECAUSE BLUE IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR UNLESS IT IS A POLICE CAR I DON’T LIKE POLICE CARS”
A Lunar New Year lion is in the foyer of a building, a figure in a business shirt smiles in the foreground.
Note reading “WHEN YOU LEAVE THE JUNGLE TO FIND AN ATM TO WITHDRAW SOME CASH EVEN IN THE BANK DO NOT FORGET THE LION NEVER SLEEPS”
Note reading “IN THE MATRIX WHEN YOU SEE TWO CATS THE BALD MAN HAS SNITCHED ON YOU”
Two Lunar New Year lions perform in the foyer of a building.
Note reading “IF A LION EATS A PERSON DOES THE LION OBTAIN THE MEDIOCRITY OF OUR LIVES THE SUBTLE EMOTIONS OF OUR GLANCES THE EMAILS UNREAD”
Two figures with food delivery backpacks both dressed in black push their blue bikes along the footpath.
Note reading “IN THE MATRIX WHEN YOU SEE TWO CATS HUGO WEAVING IS COMING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE HEAD”
A Lunar New Year lion jumps next to a figure with a pram and two children.
Note reading “A GIANT NOVELTY CHEQUE IS WORTH THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WRITTEN ON THE CHEQUE BUT A STUFFED TIGER CANNOT KILL YOU UNLESS YOU ARE A LITTLE OLD LADY WITH A HEART CONDITION AND BAD EYESIGHT
A figure wearing all black carries two plastic bags full of bottles.
OF CHARACTER REVOLVES AROUND THE RESOLVE OF INNER FORTITUDE STRONG PLASTIC BAG
A figure wearing beige pants and a yellow shirt carries three plastic bags full of fruit.
Note reading “IF FRUIT WERE PEOPLE WOULD THEIR PEELS BE THEIR CLOTHES OR THEIR SKIN? OR IS FRUIT THE POOP OF TREES” and a drawing of a pear.
Note reading “IF YOU CROPPED THIS PHOTO PROPERLY IT WOULD BE LIKE ‘WASHINGTON POST PHOTO OF THE YEAR’ OR SOMETHING, BUT YOU DIDN’T GARRY”
A photo of Sydney Haymarket, the Capitol Theatre is in the shade and the tall building behind it is illuminated by the setting sun. The sun shines strongly off the windows. A walking figure in the foreground wears a mask and carries a bag.
A crowd of people at the Haymarket tram stop, a kid sits on the window ledge of the sandstone building next to the tram stop.
Note reading “I MISS BEING A KID AND DOING NOTHING BUT PLAYING HALO ON MY COUSINS XBOX”
Four people sit on an orange bollard behind seven bicycles. One person is on their phone, another has their head in their hands.
Note reading “I DON’T MISS BEING A KID IT WAS BORING NOW I GET DRUNK AND WAKE UP IN MY SPEW”
Father and son walk towards the camera, they are both wearing Londsdale London tshirts, one navy and one beige.
Note reading “FOUR BUDDHAS LOOK OVER CHINA TOWN EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH THEY WOULDN’T DO ANYTHING IF SOMEONE TOOK CANDY FROM A BABY BUT THEY WOULD LOOK ON AND SNIGGER”
A flock of pigeons fly next to a sandstone building
Note reading “BIRDS DON’T EXIST THEY ARE COVID VACCINE”
A figure with a large pet-backpack and a caramel coloured dog in the backpack.
Note reading “DOGGY BAG”
An open hand sanitiser dispenser on a white wall. A person leans against the same wall in the distance.
Note reading “PEOPLE THINK THAT INSIDE US IS THE REAL US LIKE OUR SOUL OR JUST SOME MAGICAL LAND OF BUNNIES AND UNICORNS AND RAINBOWS AND CHOCOLATE SHAPED LIKE LOVE HEARTS BUT IT’S JUST A SACK OF GLUB!”
A figure in dark sunglasses, a black jacket and carrying a brown suitcase walks on the footpath.
Note reading “PHOTOGRAPHS ARE GIFTS THAT COME TO YOU LIKE FISH IN A STREAM DON’T GO CHASING WATERFALLS”
Two seagulls eat pieces of raw meat on the road.
Note reading “IN THE MATRIX WHEN YOU SEE TWO CATS HUGO WEAVING IS COMING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE HEAD”
A black sculpture and a yellow and green soccor ball sit on the footpath.
Note reading “THE WILL OF HEAVEN COMES FROM THE SKIES ABOVE, SO PROCLAIMED SHANCAI AND LONGNU ASSISTANTS TO GUANYIN, GODDESS OF MERCY”
Two figures in matching puffer jackets walk side by side.
Note reading “IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY IS ANOTHER STUPID THING PEOPLE SAY AT DINNER PARTIES”
A figure stands at the edge of the footpath waiting to cross the road.
Note reading “BLACK AND WHITE MEANS SOMETHING IS FROM THE PAST AND IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU 432112”

Artists

Garry Trinh is an artist working in photography, video, painting and works on paper. He makes art about the uncanny, unexpected and spontaneous moments in daily life, and is inspired by his surroundings and from the vast visual output of mass culture.

Jason Phu is an artist who explores Chinese histories in Australia, his own family history, and Chinese/Vietnamese folktales. Working across drawing, installation, painting, performance and film, Phu frequently uses humour as a device to address identity and cultural dislocation within an Australian context.

Community

New work across the applied arts and sciences is developed through support and investment by Powerhouse. We foster innovation through facilitating collaboration and connection between industry and community.​

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The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.

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