Gillian Kayrooz

Instagram: @gilliankayrooz

Hey, how are yous? This week I want you to wander with no intention and in good company, or to give it to you straight - take a walk with a mate.

This series of actions titled, ‘Commonground’ revisits the three suburbs that I grew up in and have spent the majority of my life travelling between for school, work, family and friends.

Parramatta, Merrylands and Guildford each have their own charm, for better or for worse, as well as incredible food and architecture shaped over decades of multicultural communities calling these suburbs home.

I wanted to carry out the simple action of walking, to take you with me through these spaces of domestic and social utility, in particular laneways, arcades, carparks, local shopping malls and main streets. The ‘tiny planet’ videos are created with a 360 degree camera that visually references and reshapes the stigma-fueled ‘othering’ of Western Sydney. I hope it is both cathartic and a point of reference for future trips to these neighbourhoods (particularly for a feed - you can’t go wrong).

These visual maps might also belong to a not-too-distant future archive as these sites undergo rapid change. Some suburbs are becoming unrecognisable through constant states of mass development, homogenisation and gentrification, and historical buildings, malls and generations-owned small businesses are in the process of being demolished.

The walks are accompanied by a visual archive of photos I have taken over the past year and include a few cheeky annotations to give them background and character. Finally, I’ve created an Instagram filter that designates you a freestanding South-West carpark to develop your own affinity with.

I acknowledge and pay my respects to the Darug people, the traditional custodians of the land on which I work and walk on. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Artist bio

Gillian Kayrooz’s practice is grounded in observations of her immediate surroundings and has evolved into a practice that re-authors personal histories through experimental modes of non-linear storytelling. Her work retains a focus on screen art, photo media and video installations. As a filmmaker and artist, she spent her undergraduate years developing a vast range of skills that now allow her to shoot, direct, edit, compose music for and install all of her video work. This has enabled the expansion of her work to encompass sculpture and textiles. Although there is a vast variety of processes and materials within her work, there remains a documentative focus reflecting local culture and domestic environments. Her practice is informed by personal experience and connection to place, and invites the specificities of culture and community to push against socially dictated boundaries of cultural stereotypes and socio-economic related stigmas.

Gillian Kayrooz is an artist from Western Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours) from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. In 2018 she was awarded the Create NSW Young Creative Leaders Fellowship which led her to exhibit internationally in the Asia-Pacific region. She most recently completed residencies at the Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts and the Sapporo Tenjinyama Artist Studio, ARTnSHELTER, Tokyo. In 2021, Kayrooz is a studio artist in residence at Parramatta Artists’ Studios.


Walking through Parramatta for seven minutes and thirty seconds.


  1. Parramall is the epitome of old Parra. I coin the phrase ‘old Parra’ as the giant skyscrapers across the road are a looming reminder of what’s to come. There is a sharp juxtaposition between the newbies walking around in suits and the locals from the area. I can’t help but feel the CDB-esque wind blowing. Parramall and the small businesses it houses are due to be demolished this year, along with the nearby car parks and adjacent arcades. Structures like these have housed and employed generations of diverse communities for decades. Whether the mass development of the area supports or imitates it’s foundations, I’m not quite sure.

  2. The Roxy Theatre opened in 1930 and closed in 2014, a year before I would have been able to legally attend a gig at the venue. This majestic building has been a punching bag for development over the years and there is a fear that the referral of a proposal to the Land and Environment Court could see parts of this cultural institution demolished. It’d be sick to see this space brought back to life and it would undoubtedly be a thriving hub for arts, culture and music out West.

  3. Documentation of inside Parramall before it is demolished to make way for the Parramatta Metro/Lite Rail/Powerhouse construction trio. For the time being it is still home to a range of small businesses such as Kanzo sushi, an alterations shop, Everest Momo Australia, a key cutter, a hairdresser and beauty salon, a jeweler and Bromeat (I assume they were once a butcher but idk). 

  4. Nonna Maria’s Place shutdown a few years back. It was a local Italian restaurant adjacent to the Parramatta River, described as having a ‘rustic 1970s themed dining room’.

  5. Macquarie Lane runs around one of the last free-standing parking lots that is dissimilar to the now-closed Riverbank car park, which is due to be demolished. Parramatta has prided itself on it’s quirky laneways, even naming a cultural event after them. I often walk down Macquarie Lane from the Parramatta Artist Studios to Temasek Restaurant - my order is the Sambal Chicken from the lunch menu (no. 28 on the dinner menu). 


Walking through Merrylands for five minutes and forty-one seconds.

Thank you to Rachel Fogarty for walking with me. We picked up an afternoon treat from Merrylanda bakery after this walk.


  1. Merrylanda cakes has to be one of the longest running small businesses in the suburb. As a kid, the Saturday lunch routine with my grandparents would be cucumbers (with a sprinkle of salt) and olives for starters, a few Lebanese dishes for main and Merrylanda palmiers for dessert. It has vibes adjacent to that of the infamous suburban milk bar. The cake shop looks, feels and tastes like home. The front glass windows are still filled daily with classic homemade treats and handwritten signs. I’ve been recently revisiting the Merrylanda cake shop with my best mate Nat. Our recommended combo is either a main feed from Mina Bakery or Kabul House plus a sweet treat from Merrylanda.

  2. Merrylands station, facing towards the start of Merrylands Rd. Usually a handout spot for a variety of people. I wouldn’t linger round here at night though.

  3. Merrylands Arcade has now permanently closed. It was one of the main thoroughfares between Merrylands Rd and Stocklands Mall. It always smelt funny, a mix of damp carpet and fish (there was a fish shop in there to be clear). At the entrance was a popular local Italian Deli - I specifically remember being gifted a cheeky piece of cheese or a slice of cold meat over the counter as a kid.
  4. The Merrylands Community Gardens is an incredible local initiative. It’s home to 36 garden beds, a compost and a worm farm. Encouraging locals to grow and share local food. I usually walk through here to get from Merrylands station to my friends Nat’s house.

  5. Merrylands Rd. Consists of a range of small businesses. Lot’s of incredible Afghani restaurants, my go to is Kabul House. However with the impact of the Stockland Mall renovations and the start of construction on a mass commercial-residential site, Merrylands may be following Parramatta in the  loss of many small businesses and residential spaces.

  6. This small building is one of the last remaining malls in Merrylands. It faces the McFarlane St Carpark. I usually park here if going to the local dessert institution that is Heart2Heart for leb coffee and baklawa.


Walking through Guildford for nine minutes and one second. 

Thank you to Rachel Fogarty for walking with me. We stopped at Yum Yum Bakery for lunch - they have just reopened since renovating.


  1. The Guildford West pipehead is a heritage-listed sewerage infrastructure and water supply canal. Located at the back of my home, as a child it marked the boundary to where I could roam freely without supervision. If I was feeling risky I’d cross the pipeline just for a bit. These giant overland pipes have become a site-specific point of reference and connection for those in nearby suburbs.

  2. The parking lot behind Guildford IGA, formerly Guilldford Coles (a handover that marked a shift in the suburb), is a massive plot of land that allows majority free all-day parking. This photo is taken behind Yum Yum Bakery, Guildford TAB, Saveway Bargain, and La Shish Restaurant. Small business in the front, big party in the back.

  3. The back of one of Guildford’s local grocer’s and former bank now 24/7 gym. This is a smaller, 2 hour max parking lot that is adjacent to Guildford foodworks (the mass competitor to Guildford IGA). I’d recommend the larger parking lot, 20m away, for a car sesh with mates.

  4. This mural has barely changed over the past decade. Local restaurant menus appear instead of tags or throw ups. The wall itself belongs to the Guildford Hotel, one of the only places in the suburb that my friends and I have never entered.

  5. The pedestrian/bike bridge which joins one side of Guildford to the other. It continues the ongoing debate as to which is the ‘good side’ of Guildford. That remains open to discussion.

  6. Rhodes Avenue, Guildford. Outside of my childhood home, looking towards Woodville Rd. This corner was renowned for burnouts and drag racing, and the bitchumen holds proof.

  7. Respectfully, we all go on about the almighty El Jannah and Hawa Chicken, however there remains some allure to the mysterious Chickenlicious of Guildford. As discussed with peers, the marketing is weirdly unmistakable and oddly placed, but we are yet to make the effort to actually go there.

  8. For decades this corner building, which is the latest addition to Guildford’s oeuvre of Lebanese bakeries, was known as ‘Punter’s Corner’. It was an old school milk bar that fueled both local TAB punters and school kids with the chef's recommendation - a milkshake and hamburger with the lot. 

Past Actions

07 Jun - 13 Jun 2021

Unbound Collective

31 May - 06 Jun 2021

OLC Art Collective

24 May - 30 May 2021

Naomi Hobson

17 May - 23 May 2021

Adrft Lab

10 May - 16 May 2021

Pat Brassington

03 May - 09 May 2021

Eddie Abd

26 Apr - 02 May 2021

Loren Kronemyer

19 Apr - 25 Apr 2021

Guo Jian

12 Apr - 18 Apr 2021

Kenny Pittock

05 Apr - 11 Apr 2021

Jannawi Dance Clan

29 Mar - 04 Apr 2021

Gillian Kayrooz

22 Mar - 28 Mar 2021

Nathan Beard

15 Mar - 21 Mar 2021

Pilar Mata Dupont

08 Mar - 14 Mar 2021

Michael Cook

01 Mar - 07 Mar 2021

Seini F Taumoepeau

22 Feb - 28 Feb 2021

Dani Marti

15 Feb - 21 Feb 2021

Lill Colgan & Sab D'Souza

08 Feb - 14 Feb 2021

Chris Yee

01 Feb - 07 Feb 2021

Rochelle Haley

25 Jan - 31 Jan 2021

Karrabing Film Collective

18 Jan - 24 Jan 2021

Nici Cumpston

11 Jan - 17 Jan 2021

Johnathon World Peace Bush

07 Dec - 13 Dec 2020


30 Nov - 06 Dec 2020

Raquel Ormella

23 Nov - 29 Nov 2020

Léuli Eshrāghi

16 Nov - 22 Nov 2020

Rolande Souliere

09 Nov - 15 Nov 2020

TV Moore

02 Nov - 08 Nov 2020

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

26 Oct - 01 Nov 2020

Ivey Wawn

19 Oct - 25 Oct 2020

Naomi Blacklock

12 Oct - 18 Oct 2020

Sancintya Mohini Simpson

05 Oct - 11 Oct 2020

Yhonnie Scarce

28 Sep - 04 Oct 2020

Ruha Fifita

21 Sep - 27 Sep 2020

Kaylene Whiskey

14 Sep - 20 Sep 2020

Adam Linder

07 Sep - 13 Sep 2020

Archie Barry

31 Aug - 06 Sep 2020

Min Wong

24 Aug - 30 Aug 2020

Hayley Millar-Baker

17 Aug - 23 Aug 2020

Erin Coates

10 Aug - 16 Aug 2020

Diego Bonetto

03 Aug - 09 Aug 2020

Tyza Hart

27 Jul - 02 Aug 2020

Larissa Hjorth

20 Jul - 26 Jul 2020

Louise Zhang

13 Jul - 19 Jul 2020

Henri Papin (Meijers & Walsh)

06 Jul - 12 Jul 2020


29 Jun - 05 Jul 2020

Rainbow Chan

22 Jun - 28 Jun 2020

Jason Phu

15 Jun - 21 Jun 2020

Abdul Abdullah

08 Jun - 14 Jun 2020

Patricia Piccinini

01 Jun - 07 Jun 2020

Brook Andrew

25 May - 31 May 2020


18 May - 24 May 2020

James Tylor