Protest art takes center stage at the Newcastle Art Gallery

The deeply rooted tradition of activism through art is brought to light with a new exhibition at the Newcastle Art Gallery.

The Art of Protest will explore how artists use their work to highlight injustices and challenge perceptions.

From a political parody inspired by a pop music hit to works that make statements about climate change, asylum seekers or feminism, the exhibition examines a cross section of serious issues.

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said the exhibition will feature works from the gallery’s own collection alongside key works on loan from politically engaged artists who have blended art and activism throughout. throughout their career.

“The Newcastle Art Gallery has a reputation for providing thought-provoking exhibitions that engage, educate and challenge audiences in different ways,” Ms. Morton said.

“From community activism to global social movements, The Art of Protest features past and present works by local, national and international artists who respond to disaster and injustice and call for change.”

Fiona Lee, If not now, when?  2020, melted and reclaimed 1994 Toyota Hilux alloy, bull bars, bolts, artists collection

The expansive exhibit features a variety of different artistic mediums, including paintings, photographs, linocuts, sculptures, videos and mixed media, which explore everything from workers’ rights and HIV / AIDS awareness to war , humanitarianism, colonialism, the stolen generation, animal welfare and LGBTQI rights.

“Artists have always played a central role as voices of protest, from the first modernists and social realists attacking workers’ rights in the 1940s, to poster art of the 1970s and current issues including women’s rights, environmental policy, compassion for all Australians and the preservation of local heritage, ”Ms. Morton said.

“The recent works of art on display respond to the events of recent tumultuous years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need for climate action.

“The apocalyptic bushfires of 2020 were the tragic inspiration for a number of works by local artist Fiona Lee, whose family home near Taree was destroyed during the blaze. She has used materials salvaged from the ruins to create works that highlight and protest the government’s inaction on climate change.

The art of protest will open on October 30 and will remain on display at the Newcastle Art Gallery until January 30, 2022. A free online chat on November 4, artists Fiona Lee, Dani Marti and Anne Zahalka will discuss the processes used to create their works on display in this exhibition.


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William E. Bennett

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