Fitzroy, Melbourne’s first suburb, sits at the northern perimeter of its commercial heart — what locals call ‘The City’. The kilometre-and-a-half grid of streets situated on Wurundjeri land has a checkered history, transitioning through the decades from a genteel residential neighborhood of stately Victorian homes, when Fitzroy was conceived in 1839, to a working class area of boarding houses and small factories, a centre for immigrants — first from China, then Europe, later for arrivals from Vietnam and Africa, a mecca for students, artists and musicians, to its inevitable gentrification, becoming an expensive inner-city lifestyle hub; though public housing estates in the area ensure a diversity of residents, these days the area is defined by its many cafes, restaurants and bars, its art galleries and live music venues, and by the extensive vibrant street art, bold ornate tags and scrappy graffiti that adorn walls everywhere.
Series of shadow boxes line the walls of a rail underpass by Nakano Station. They often display community information, images of neigborhood festivals, or colorful drawings rendered by local elementary school students. For the time being they’ve become a contemporary art gallery.
Tokyo photographer—and self-described non-fiction writer—Inbe Kawori (インベ カヲリ) has commandeered one wall of the underpass to exhibit a selection of his works.
The edgy urban photographs, gritty environmental portraits of women, sometimes surreal, often eroticized, with faint echoes of Daido and Araki, printed to fill the display cases, are perfectly placed here on the streets of Nakano, with its jumble of old and new restaurants, stores and homes, its congested commercial center, quiet residential areas and lively entertainment district.
I’ve had passing thoughts about this kind of art exhibition, but I’m really impressed with the actuality of it. Here’s to more street art.