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Forum Q by Feras Shaheen

Photo: NANCY TRIEU

‘FORUM Q’, 2021 by Feras Shaheen
Located at Lithgow Mall, Campbelltown

Forum Q is a creative space for people to gather, train and create right in the heart of the Campbelltown CBD. The space was conceptualised by dancer, designer and all round creative Feras Shaheen in close collaboration with Campbelltown Arts Centre. Feras Shaheen grew up in Campbelltown and has gone on to International Reputation within the Arts & Hip Hop community.

Over the course of the Forum Q project, Feras was deeply reflective of his lived experience and the diverse needs of the Queen Street Central Business District. The result is a bold but not overstated hybrid between public art installation and recreation space designed to inspire emerging creatives and support Western Sydney’s thriving street culture. For Shaheen, ‘Street Culture’ is the intersection of street art, street dance, urban photography, videography, street food, parkour, klapping, football freestyle, street wear and innumerable other forms that meet to bond a city together.

Forum Q’s iconic design was carefully considered at every level, with an inclusive approach that sought to compliment rather than resist. Employing an astute use of shape, pattern and colour, Shaheen created a framework that unconsciously communicates an atmosphere of expectation, ‘something is about to happen’.

The chequer motif is central to Forum Q’s design with its graphic, tonal pattern used at various scale and effect across the space, including, a mural backdrop, overhead sails, casted dance floor and public chessboard. Chequer motifs are deeply entrenched within fashion, performance, sport, architecture and the Hip Hop community, and as such, unified the diverse needs of the space. Drawing upon the historicity and significations of the chequer motif, Shaheen confidently contemporised and subverted its pattern into pixelated new forms inspired by Campbelltown icons, the fringe lily, lyrebird, and two rivers. Likewise, the chequer grid and tone are further contrasted across the broader space with highlighter yellow accents, arched mirrors, curving garden beds and organic street furniture that evoke a sense of the balance, movement and flow for which freestyle hip-hop is known.

Shaheen’s inclusive approach and chequered subversion is perhaps best exemplified by the dancefloor at Forum Q’s centrepiece. The pixelated edge where the chequered dance floor seamlessly connects with Queen Street’s gridded tile creates a kind of glitch within the everyday, a paradoxical tension between integration and disintegration, whereby, pathway is transformed into dancefloor and pedestrian into performer.

Commissioned by Campbelltown City Council, 2021 with special thanks to Paduano Investments. Funded by NSW Government Streets as Shared Spaces.

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