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Powerhouse Parramatta invites Muslim communities to share untold stories

Bound chapter of Quran. Collection of Khaled Sabsabi.January 31, 2023

Image: Bound chapter of Quran (dated 912AH Hijri, 1506CE Gregorian). Collection of Khaled Sabsabi. Credit: Zan Wimberley.


Powerhouse today announced ‘moments in waiting’, a major new community history project led by acclaimed Lebanese-Australian artist Khaled Sabsabi that focuses on the untold stories behind extraordinary objects held by Muslim families in Greater Sydney.

Sabsabi will collaborate with Muslim communities over a two-year period to bring to light the stories behind unique, spiritually significant objects, and preserve them for present and future generations. Through a series of commissions moments in waiting will provide a platform for communities from diverse backgrounds across Greater Sydney and beyond to share and celebrate their histories, cultures, and beliefs.

As part of the project, Powerhouse Parramatta is launching a public call-out seeking members of Muslim communities across Greater Sydney who hold objects they consider sacred to share their stories. These objects may be family heirlooms passed down through generations, acquired in the homeland, or recently and locally made objects that hold a spiritual significance.

A multifaceted and reflexive portrait of the diversity of Muslim communities in Australia, moments in waiting will invite us to rethink and reflect on what is sacred, and how this intersects with notions of memory, heritage, migration and the diasporic experience. The commissioned works will premiere at Powerhouse Parramatta in 2025.

Khaled Sabsabi migrated with his family to Sydney in 1976 following the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. Sabsabi for over 30 years has worked with communities across Western Sydney, to create and develop community programs and projects that explore the complexities of place, displacement, identity, and ideological differences associated with migrant experiences and marginalisation. Sabsabi’s process involves working across mediums, geographical borders, and cultures to create immersive and engaging cultural experiences.

‘We are thrilled to announce this major community history project for Powerhouse Parramatta, which is part of our ongoing commitment to support self-determined storytelling and present the diverse experiences, voices, and beliefs of Australian communities. moments in waiting will showcase untold stories revealed through rare, culturally significant objects never-before-seen. We welcome community members who hold cultural objects to share their stories through this important project,’ said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah.

‘moments in waiting is an unparalleled opportunity to share the cultural and spiritual richness of Muslim communities across Greater Sydney with the wider community. I am thrilled to collaborate with Powerhouse Parramatta to bring such exceptional stories to light,’ said Khaled Sabsabi.

If you or someone you know has a cultural object and would like to share its history, please contact us at For more details, please visit our website.

Thank you for considering sharing your stories with us.


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Chloe Kang | Powerhouse
0423 810 860

About Powerhouse

Powerhouse sits at the intersection of arts, design, science and technology and plays a critical role in engaging communities with contemporary ideas and issues. We are undertaking a landmark $1.4 billion infrastructure renewal program, spearheaded by the creation of the flagship museum, Powerhouse Parramatta; expanded research and public facilities at Powerhouse Castle Hill; the renewal of the iconic Powerhouse Ultimo; and the ongoing operation of Sydney Observatory. The museum is custodian to over half a million objects of national and international significance and is considered one of the finest and most diverse collections in Australia. We are also undertaking an expansive digitisation project that will provide new levels of access to Powerhouse collections.