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William Kelly’s Big Picture
Arts, Community, Education, History, Human Rights, Social Justice
William Kelly, widely considered the social conscience of Australian art, once said, “art can’t stop a bullet, but it can stop a bullet from being fired.” Can it? 60 years ago there was the threat of nuclear confrontation, racial violence, sexual tensions, and a conflict in the Middle East. A coalition of Western powers led by the USA dropped thousands of bombs and civilians were the victims. Today, nuclear warheads are being fired over Japan, stress, fear and terror around the world is escalating. It’s a time of civil wars, terrorist attacks, and of refugees in crisis, ethnic, religious and racial conflict. Things have come full circle with assaults on human rights, social justice and free speech that attempt to crush the voices of journalists and artists. Circumstances that permeated both America and Australia in the past have returned. Forces that led to the rise of fascism and the fear that gripped the ‘Cold War’ era are now creating a chill again.Kelly’s personal journey is from a poor, violent family life in New York State where he was in a gang as a youth, to receiving an Australian Violence Prevention Award from the Prime Minister and a Courage of Conscience award in the USA – an honour shared with Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali and John Lennon. This journey is the “back story” to the creation of art, by him and by others, that is powerful enough to effect change like Picasso’s “Guernica”.While using his monumental artwork “Peace or War/The Big Picture” as its central theme, it explores the ideas and actions of those who have been part of Kelly’s journey from Nobel Prize winners to actor/activists such as Martin Sheen and photographer Nick Ut whose famous ‘Vietnam Napalm’ photo is credited with helping end the Vietnam War. Their discussions highlight the fact that we continue to make the same bad judgements over and over when we enter wars, and it gives us passionate insights into the views of artists who have taken a stand, and sometimes paid the price.This documentary encompasses people, places and events from every continent - from Hiroshima survivors to Iranian musicians and indigenous artists in Australia. The film spans a dynamic social and historical landscape, and will feature music relevant to the times - from Neil Young, Midnight Oil, Ed Sheeran and others. They form the film’s soundscape with songs of protest and hope.Kelly is credited with “redefining humanist art,” and is an internationally recognised and respected artist, but most importantly he is a peacemaker. “Peace or War/ The Big Picture” is the culmination of a life’s work and will be unveiled at the magnificent State Library reading room in Melbourne. It is William Kelly’s big picture in a literal sense and in a metaphorical one too.The documentary is, indeed, about the big picture ... not just our past but our shared future. And it couldn’t be more timely.
Arts, Community, Disability, Education, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Refugees, Social Justice, Welfare, Youth
“If you don't accept people can change ~ no one has an incentive to change..." Myuran Sukumaran (17 April 1981 – 29 April 2015) was an Australian who was convicted in Indonesia of drug trafficking as a member of the Bali Nine. In 2005, Sukumaran was arrested in a room at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with three others. Police found 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin in a suitcase in the room. According to court testimonies of convicted drug mules, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the co-ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia. After a criminal trial, Sukumaran was sentenced on 14 February 2006 by the Denpasar District Court to execution by firing squad. Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran made a personal appeal for mercy to Joko Widodo, painting a portrait of the Indonesian president and signing it with the words 'People Can Change'. After lodging an appeal against his sentence, this was initially dismissed by the Bali High Court. A judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011 affirmed the death sentence. Sukumaran’s plea for clemency was rejected by the President of Indonesia on 30 December 2014, and Sukumaran was expected to face execution, together with Chan. The execution was carried out on 29 April 2015. Myuran Sukumaran led an art studio for his fellow prisoners during his time in Kerobokan prison, where he was mentored. Myuran taught English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to prisoners. The portrait of Mr Joko Widodo signed 'People Can Change' is his most recent work. He painted the oil on canvas artwork in Kerobokan prison in late January 2015, in his final weeks there before being transferred to Nusakambangan Island. Myu painted multiple self-portraits while on Nusakambangan. His final painting resembles a bleeding Indonesian flag. He was recently awarded an associate degree in fine arts by Curtin University. Myuran Sukumaran had his first major Australian exhibition at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in January 2017, curated by noted Australian artist, Ben Quilty. ‘Alone from night to night you'll find me Too weak to break these chains that bind me I need no shackles to remind me I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner From one command I stand and wait now From one who's master of my fate now I can't escape for it's too late now I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner.’
The Coming Back Out Ball
Aged, Arts, Community, Disability, Environment, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Social Justice, Welfare
THE COMING BACK OUT BALL is an observational feature documentary that follows LGBTI elders who have been invited to attend a Ball celebrating their gender and sexual identities. In the face of ageing and isolation, our LGBTI elders seize each day with humour and determination. With the advent of the Ball, these elders’ lives begin to change as they find hope, acceptance and love in their twilight years.Producers Adam Farrington-Williams, Sue Thomson, Roger Monk & Tristan MeechamExecutive Producers Michael McMahon, Shaun Miller, Tony NagleDirected by Sue ThomsonImage: LGBTI Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men. (C) Photo by Bryony Jackson.