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Art and protest meet in major exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery

The long-standing tradition of activism through art is the focus of the latest exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery.

THE ART OF PROTEST is the gallery’s major summer exhibition and explores how artists use their work to highlight injustice 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 featuresworks from the Gallery’s own collection alongside key works loaned from politically engaged artists.

“Newcastle Art Gallery has a reputation for delivering thought-provoking exhibitions that engage, educate and challenge audiences in many different ways,” Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said.

Jemima WYMAN: Mass Monument (Yellow and Black) 2018. Hand‑cut digital photo collage. 125.0 x 89.0cm. Les Renfrew Bequest 2020. Newcastle Art Gallery collection. Courtesy the artist.

“From community activism to global social movements, THE ART OF PROTEST features past and present works from local, national and international artists who are responding to disaster and injustice and calling for change.” 

The eclectic exhibition showcases work across a range of mediums including paintings, photography, linocut, sculpture, video and mixed media, exploring everything from worker’s rights and HIV/AIDS awareness to war, humanitarianism, the Stolen Generation, LGBTQI rights and more.

“Artists have always played a pivotal role as a voice of protest, from the early modernists and social realists tackling worker’s rights in the 1940s, to poster art of the 1970s, through to the current issues of the day,” Lauretta said. 

Fiona LEE: If not now, when? 2020. Melted and recovered 1994 Toyota Hilux alloy, bull bar, bolts. 130.0 x 260.0 x 4.0cm. Artist collection. Courtesy the artist

“Recent works of art on display respond to events of the past few 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 utilised materials recovered from the ruins to create works that highlight and protest against the government’s inaction on climate change.” 

THE ART OF PROTEST exhibition is on display at Newcastle Art Gallery until Sunday 30 January 2022. Head here for more information.


Last Fridays: Boycott 

Friday 26 November 2021
14 days from now
5.00pm – 8.00pm
Free event, no bookings required.
In-person at Newcastle Art Gallery.

The gallery’s after-hours art party is back!

This month features Boycott, a local punk band inspired by politics and social justice. As well as a performance of suitably loud, angry and witty protest poems by exhibiting artist and poet Richard Tipping.

Experience the latest exhibitions while enjoying live performances and a pop-up bar.