Last Friday evening it was standing room only at the Lismore Regional Gallery as the faithful gathered to pay homage to the art of activism for the opening of the exhibition Protests Songs: Artful Actions, a show that begins with activism from the 1960s through to the present day, and seeks to articulate the various ways in which creativity has helped to promote awareness of issues of the day.
Gallery Director Brett Adlington welcomed many of the exhibiting artists to the event and spoke of the recent local protest action.
‘Many might be thinking that this project is a recently conceived response on our behalf to the current political climates, including the recent Bentley Blockade’, he said. ‘But when exhibition curator Kezia Geddes started discussing this show with me, Barry O’Farrell was premier, Julia Gillard was prime minister, we had carbon pricing, and if you said the word “Bentley”, most of us here would add “Art Prize” after it.
‘What this exhibition is really seeking to do is to look at how creativity has long been used as a way to highlight various political issues.’
Activist, academic and educator Aidan Ricketts officially opened the show.
‘It’s fascinating coming in and looking at the incredible diversity of activist art we see here’, said Ricketts. ‘Covering indigenous people, HIV/AIDS, the environment, human rights and war. What that really reminded me was how much activism is absolutely woven into the fabric of our lives. It’s impossible to think of any social change that has happened in history that hasn’t really had its origins with activists.’
The exhibition covers the work of fine artists, photographers, filmmakers, performance artists and knitters and features many local works.
Protests Songs: Artful Actions continues until September 7.
~ Photos Eve Jeffery & David Lowe