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Talk

Can Art Change The World?
– Art & Politics in Australia

Is art a mirror or a hammer? Do artists have a responsibility to take their work beyond the ‘art world’ and into the ‘real’ one? How can art really influence politics?

Join a panel to debate the role of art and its possibility to influence contemporary politics, enact social change and improve the world. Journalist, author and filmmaker Jeff McMullen will lead this conversation, welcoming the audience to share their insights and opinions with artist Fiona Foley and artist/writer Adam Gezcy

$15/$10 MCA Members and Concessions

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Image: Guan Wei, The Journey to Australia (detail), 2013, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australa, image courtesy and © the artist. Photograph: Alex Davies

Speakers:

Dr Jeff McMullen AM is a journalist, author and film-maker for almost five decades, Jeff McMullen has been a foreign correspondent for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes, interviewer and anchor of the 33 part issue series on ABC Television, Difference of Opinion and host of televised forums on the National Indigenous Television Network.

Recent documentaries have focussed on the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their education and housing needs, and the chronic illness cluster taking so many lives. A short film directed by McMullen, East Coast Encounter, opens at the Australian Maritime Museum in May 2014, as artists, poets and historians explore Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives of James Cook’s 1770 contact with Aboriginal people.

McMullen is the Honorary CEO of Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, developing early learning programs and the Literacy Backpack project in 22 remote Indigenous communities over the past decade. Jeff has worked with singer/songwriters including Archie Roach, Kev Carmody, Paul Kelly, Shane Howard and Neil Murray on the series of iconic song books that celebrate the Indigenous Struggle for equality.

Throughout his professional life Jeff McMullen has written, filmed and campaigned around the world to improve health, education and human rights in many nations, but particularly for Indigenous people.

As a Director of AIME, or Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, McMullen has helped grow this highly successful education movement connecting university undergraduates as mentors for Aboriginal high-school students in urban areas.
He is also a Director of the Australian Indigenous Engineering Aid Summer School program that is building opportunities in tertiary education and co-chaired the World Indigenous Business Forum in Sydney in 2012.

McMullen has been prominent in the Close the Gap campaign, chairing forums for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria and the Sunrise Health Service in the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory.

He is also patron of the Merry Maker’s troupe for Down’s Syndrome children and has worked with the University of Canberra’s Healthpact Center developing health promotion and social equality programs for children.

In 2006 McMullen was awarded an Order of Australia (AM), for service to journalism and efforts to raise awareness of economic, social and human rights issues in Australia and overseas, as well as service to charity.

“A LIFE OF EXTREMESJOURNEYS AND ENCOUNTERS” (HarperCollins Australia), Jeff’s best selling book, examines ideas gleaned from some of the world’s bravest individuals contributing to a brighter future for the human family.

Jeff McMullen

Fiona Foley is a founding member of Booomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative. Foley is a Brisbane based artist and exhibits regularly in Australia and internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane in 2013 and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2012.

In 2009–10 The University of Queensland Art Museum and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art co-curated a survey exhibition of Fiona Foley’s work titled Forbidden. The exhibition traversed photography, sculpture, moving image, etching and installations.

During 2011 Foley was appointed an Adjunct Professor with the University of Queensland.

Foley’s major public sculptures include:
The Edge of Trees, Museum of Sydney, Sydney 1995
The Lie of the Land, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne 1997
Tribute to A’vang, Parliament House, Canberra 2001
Winged Harvest, The Australian National University, Canberra 2001
Witnessing to Silence, Brisbane Magistrates Court, Brisbane 2004
Bible and Bullets, Redfern Park, Sydney 2008
Little Treasures, Hamilton Northshore Playscape, Brisbane 2008
Black Opium, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane 2009
Sugar Cubes, Mackay Regional Council, Mackay 2009

Fiona Foley

Adam Geczy is an artist and writer who teaches at Sydney College of the Arts. His most recent exhibitions include S/M Wonderland (ACP, Sydney) and BOMB in collaboration with Adam Hill at the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art (AAMU) in Utrecht, Holland. He has also written numerous books, including Fashion and Orientalism (2013) and Art: Histories, Theories and Exceptions (2008) (both Bloomsbury Publishers)

Adam Gezcy

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