Dome levels 4 and 5 will be closed to the public from Monday 13 May to Friday 24 May. Visit our refreshed World of the Book exhibition from Saturday 25 May.

Home > View & Discuss > William Kelly and panel on the art of peace

William Kelly and panel on the art of peace

  • Date recorded: 11 Nov 2015

  • Duration: 01:01:03

'If not now, when, and if not us, who?'

– William Kelly

About this video

In this important discussion introduced by ABC Radio National features producer Lyn Gallacher, hear from some of Australia's most-celebrated creative minds as a panel assembled by 2014 Creative Fellow William Kelly OAM looks at the role of artists in promoting ideas of peace and reconciliation.

Artist William Kelly leads with a talk on the work that evolved from his Library fellowship, the book Fellow travellers and a folio produced through the Baldessin Press, Not in my name. Arguing that art can stop a bullet from being fired, and make us think more sensitively about the world we live in, his works shed light on artists who have stood for peace and against war, violence and inequality.

Also listen as soprano Deborah Cheetham AO shares why she turned down the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the 2015 ALF Grand Final, and reveals the hidden meaning behind the song's words ‘young and free’.

Filmmaker Paul Cox highlights the lack of conflict in his movies, in which to date a gun has never been fired. He reveals his fears for today's young people in a world that appears to lack a conscience, and his belief in showing an alternative, more positive possibility.

Finally, hear from acclaimed illustrator Shaun Tan as he showcases artworks from some of his best-known books, including The rabbits and The arrival. He discusses art as a kind of activism, where questions are asked but not necessarily answered, leaving the ending open-ended for the reader to invest their own ideas.

This panel discussion was held at the State Library on 11 November 2015.


Dr Lyn Gallacher

Dr Lyn Gallacher is a features producer for ABC Radio National, where she currently produces programs for Earshot. Over the years her stories have won a variety of awards, including a European Union Award for Journalism 2010.

William Kelly OAM

New York–born William Kelly OAM is a painter and printmaker whose international reputation as an artist of conscience has been frequently acknowledged. He is the only visual artist to receive an Australian Violence Prevention Award, and was the first visual artist to receive the prestigious 'Courage of Conscience Award' from the Peace Abbey, Boston.

Deborah Cheetham AO

Deborah Cheetham AO is Associate Dean of Indigenous Development at the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne. A soprano, playwright, composer and educator, her best-known work is Pecan summer, Australia’s first Indigenous opera.

Paul Cox

Born in Holland and settled in Melbourne, Paul Cox is one of the most prolific filmmakers in Australia, with numerous features, shorts and documentaries to his name, including 2015’s Force of destiny.

Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is best known for his illustrated books, which deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. The rabbits, The red tree, Tales from outer suburbia, Rules of summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages.