Gillian Kayrooz

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.

Original Action


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.


Walking through Parramatta for seven minutes and thirty seconds.



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.



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.


Go Deeper


The 52 ACTIONS work was commissioned between lockdowns in Sydney. During this time, visits to my studio were limited, if not off limits altogether and the small freedom we had each day was walking. Walking within a 5km radius meant I became very quickly familiar with the local neighbourhood. When I returned to Parramatta the buildings surrounding the studio were earmarked for demolition including the building itself. I therefore found myself wanting to preserve and remember what it felt like to walk the streets of both Parramatta and subsequently Merrylands and Guildford before laneways disappeared, malls were demolished and the cityscape became a distant memory. Luckily I have recorded my walk through these now lost places, and have added these to an archive in the hopes of suspending them at a point in time. Anyone engaging with my work will be able to experience cultural artefacts and places that no longer stand in a physical location. 

I recently finished reading Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", a training-log-esque memoir that details the author's creative process and its hardships, sitting parallel with his enthusiasm and impressive pastime of running. After creating the work and reading the book, I similarly have found an appreciation for a physical outlet to accompany one's artistic endeavours. I think they complement and influence each other more than we realise, providing us with a space for thoughts to float, age and distill particularly when not needing to move from one place to another for any particular schedule, meeting or event. I guess one way to think about the process is meditative, however I enjoy approaching the process as an incidental way to create drawings, and memories of place through steps.  

Take Action


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.

– Gillian Kayrooz, Commonground, 52 ACTIONS 

Plan a walking route for yourself and a friend, starting at the same time and location each week, for one month. Consider the following:

  • What do you notice during your walk? e.g. Do the same buildings stand out or is there a particular colour that you associate with certain parts of the walk?  

  • Are you part of someone else's routine when walking e.g. Do you happen to pass by a cafe at the same time as someone enjoying their morning coffee?. 

  • From week to week, what changes? e.g. Has a new construction begun or have trees located on the footpath been trimmed back significantly? 

  • From week to week, what does not change? e.g. You could take a photograph in the same spot each week and compare the images.

  • Are there certain feelings or memories that you associate with certain locations or parts of the walk?

Upon reflection, how does the walk of your neighbourhood exist as a memory of place? Try creating a map from memory. It could be a line drawing of your chosen path, a navigation through smells associated with passing by certain shops, or recollections of memories embedded in specific locations. However you create your map, you have begun to create your own archive of a place that is significant to you.