10 Works by Justine Youssef

By | 5 December 2019

Justine Youssef
Under the table I learnt how to feed you | 2019 | single channel video installation, 6 minutes and vinyl decal, video still

‘Under the table I learnt how to feed you’ documents the women in my family as they arrogate space through dance and the smoking of arghile in the courtyard of a Lebanese bakery in Southwest Sydney. The site is of social and cultural significance for Arab populations in the area. The bakery is akin to that which my mother and grandmother worked in as undocumented immigrant labourers when they were first settled on sovereign Darug land.

In the work, these women’s actions speak to labour exploitation and their erasure in these public spaces, positing matrilineal gestures as forms of resilience and resistance. In the face of ongoing branding, urban development and gentrification of Western Sydney, the future of this courtyard is precarious. Through methods of auto-ethnography, this video installation connects familial histories and local narratives of undocumented immigrant labor with present politics of gentrification and displacement.

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