Finalists in annual art competition Sydney Little Lives, these kids give us a look at how our youngest citizens view Sydney
This year’s Sydney Little Lives photography competition sees two children from Indian backgrounds among the 20 finalists. The striking images captured by six-year-old Alex Saksena and 11-year-old Ananya Wakhare have been digitally enlarged to stand 1.5m wide and are now on display in Sandringham Gardens in Hyde Park until Sunday, 9 October.
Little Sydney Lives is the junior counterpart to the prestigious Australian Life photography competition which is part of the City of Sydney’s Art and About program. The colourful images snapped by children aged three to 11, from across Sydney, capture life in our city from their youthful, fresh perspective.
Selected from 250 submissions by judging trio Louise Whelan, Liane Rossler and Daniel Mudie Cunningham, both Alex and Ananya’s photos demonstrate a creative, child’s-eye view of a unique aspect of Sydney.
Alex Saksena’s photograph captures a young boy’s interpretation of how we might combat crime and global unrest. His image ‘Keeping Australia Safe’ gives fascinating insight into how children are responding to our current global climate, and is being used in various promotional materials for Sydney Little Lives and Art and About.
“Alex is a caring person and he is nice to everyone,” Alex’s dad, Nitin Saksena told Indian Link. “He dreams of the world as a safer place where all of us can live happily. He has been affected by news of terrorist-related activities in Australia and in the world. Therefore, in his small world, he has Avengers to avenge that. Through The Avengers, he believes we can not only save the world, but also keep Australia safe from bad people. The fear of the unknown has definitely inspired this work.”
At only six, Alex enjoys looking through the lens of the camera and simply taking photos of the things he finds interesting and meaningful.
“I love big cameras,” Alex said. “I find them exciting!”
Two years ago, Alex’s older sister was a finalist in the competition and he always wanted to enter.
“He was dreaming about being a part of it and he was at work soon after I told him the event had been announced,” Nitin shared.
These pint-sized snappers are living in an age of new technology, grabbing everything from high-quality digital cameras to smartphones to take their photos.
Having previously won an award as part of the Marrickville Urban Photography Competition, Ananya Wakhare heard about the competition from a friend of her father’s who knows she likes taking photos.
Her image ‘Diverse Sydney’ captures a convergence of the cultural and architectural diversity of Sydney, while also highlighting our city’s recent push towards urban sustainability.
The Central Park building on Broadway in Chippendale always caught her attention when the family drove past.
“When I visited Spice Alley, I liked the different sights and smells,” Ananya said. “I liked how the decorations were different to the backdrop of Central Park.”
Ananya’s father Sachin Wakhare, himself a hobby photographer, says photography is a creative outlet for his artistic daughter.
“Photography was always something she loved, but she is finding even more ways to capture her surroundings,” he said.
“Collectively, the mature visual literacy of the Little Lives photographers is inspiring,” competition judge Louise Whelan said. “The young photographers have delightfully given us insights into family relationships, as well as a pure social documentary approach to aspects of their daily lives.”
“Some have explored bigger ideas graphically, with a narrative on how to love a child. They have art directed concepts like sleeping jellybeans or documenting their cultural inheritance. The performative observations of play are intriguing and insightful. There is a lot to learn from viewing theses well-executed photographs.”
Art and About is a year-round program of major projects and exhibitions in surprising and accessible locations throughout the city. Celebrating its sixth year, the Little Sydney Lives photography competition has become a favourite exhibition among the people of Sydney. The large-scale outdoor exhibition is timed perfectly for the school holidays.
“Our city’s littlest photographers have demonstrated that talent certainly comes in small packages,” City of Sydney CEO, Monica Barone said. “The creativity of our youngest residents continues to amaze and entertain Sydneysiders and visitors of all ages. I encourage everyone to support our young creatives and come along to the exhibition.”