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Art of Dissent seeks to provoke


Unsettling questions about global issues ranging from war to climate change are posed in a provocative new exhibition at Flinders University Art Museum.

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Giving Voice: The Art of Dissent is a touring show comprising work by socially and politically engaged artists from Australia and New Zealand who explore concerns such as war, racism, climate change, economic crises and the number of displaced people around the world.

Curator Dr Yvonne Rees-Pagh says the artists have all resolved to speak out on contentious matters through their work.

“The courage displayed by them to publicly voice dissent is remarkable and something to be admired,” she says.

“They are all from different nationalities and backgrounds but their voices seem to join together.

“I chose these artists because they’re heartfelt. These artists really feel about the things they’ve experienced in the world.”

Artists represented in Giving Voice include Cigdem Ayedemir, James Barker, Richard Bell, Pat Hoffie, Locust Jones, Megan Keating, Khaled Sabsabi and Michael Reed.

With works in a variety of different mediums, including photography, new media, painting, sculpture, textiles and works on paper, the exhibition asks viewers hard questions about where they stand on the issues facing the world today. It also aims to move people to seek a better understanding of the complexities of these issues.

Business as Usual, by Michael Reed.

Business as Usual, by Michael Reed.

“I want them to walk away and say, ‘Hey, art can say something really powerful’,” says Rees-Pagh.

“Can art change the world? No, of course not, but it can make people see things differently.”

Flinders University Art Museum has a long history of supporting the work of politically engaged artists and curators.

“This is the cornerstone of what we do,” says Flinders University Art Museum director Fiona Salmon.

“We provide a forum to unpack the human experience through the language of art; sometimes that can be confronting.”

Smoke and Mirrors, by Pat Hoffie.

Smoke and Mirrors, by Pat Hoffie.

Giving Voice: The Art of Dissent is a Salamanca Arts Centre exhibition being toured by Contemporary Art Tasmania. It will be at Flinders University Art Museum City Gallery (in the State Library on North Terrace) until June 26; the gallery is open from 11am-4pm Tuesday to Friday, and from 12-4pm Saturday and Sunday.


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