Sinead Kennedy

6x6 Southeast Asia and Oceania Talent: Sinead Kennedy, Australia

“Concerned with the politics of migration and asylum in an Australian context, Sinead Kennedy is on the verge of making some of Australia's most interesting and challenging work as she pushes boundaries within the practice of expanded documentary.” - Raphaela Rosella, Australia, visual-storyteller and 6x6 nominator

Sinead Kennedy is an artist with a practice guided by an interest in photography and social issues. Kennedy completed her Bachelor of Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She was the recipient of the 2017 Pool Collective Grant and won second prize in PHmuseum’s Women Photographers Grant 2018.

To Set Fire to the Sea

‘To Set Fire to the Sea’ explores mandatory and indefinite immigration detention for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. It is a response to the Australian government’s focus on refugees and a seeming obsession with border control, amidst a global climate of mass displacement, xenophobia and border paranoia. Taking place in a country with a complicated history of migration, identity and belonging, these are glimpses of the ongoing life and conversation with friends who are being held in the immigration system. Through a collaboration of text and image, this project attempts to communicate the personal experiences and dehumanising processes of this system’s slow bureaucratic violence.


“This work explores the liminal space occupied by Tibetans living in exile. My collaborators have escaped the oppression of the Chinese occupation of their home, often with great difficulty and with the knowledge that they may not be able to return. They have shared with me their sadness and loss in the plight of their homeland, but also the peace and compassion that are fundamental components of Tibetan identity. I seek to reflect on these ideas of culture and identity in exile, and also the uncertainty of how this condition affects and lives through future generations. I have aimed to visualize the loss and the silence that surrounds this experience as well as the distance, but also the connection, between their home in Tibet and the continuation of their life in Australia.” - Sinead Kennedy

Sinead Kennedy also received nominations from Giuseppe Oliverio and Rocco Venezia.

Discover work by the 6x6 Southeast Asia and Oceania talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.