Justine Youssef

Under the table I learnt how to feed you

8 - 29 May 2021

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 south-west Sydney, on unceded Dharug Land. The site is of social and cultural significance for Middle Eastern populations in the area. It is akin to that which my mother and grandmother worked in as undocumented immigrant labourers when they were first settled on sovereign Dharug Land.


In the work, matrilineal gestures are posited as forms of resilience and resistance. In the face of ongoing branding, development and gentrification of western Sydney, the future of this courtyard is precarious. Through methods of auto-ethnography, this work connects familial histories and local narratives of undocumented immigrant labor with present politics of gentrification and displacement.