This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Inside Ben Quilty's Blockbuster Exhibition 'Quilty'

Creative People

A major survey exhibition on one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists will open at Adelaide’s Art Gallery of South Australia tonight.

Ben Quilty’s Quilty offers an unprecedented insight into the incredibly socially engaged artist, who is committed to art’s capacity to instigate change.

This oeuvre will later tour to state galleries in Queensland and New South Wales. As a prelude to your essential IRL viewing, we share a preview of the astounding show…

1st March, 2019

Artist Ben Quilty. Photo – courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Self-portrait after Afghanistan, 2012. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Captain Kate Porter, After Afghanistan, 2012. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Fairy Bower Rorschach, 2012. Photo – courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Last Supper no.9, 2017. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Myuran, 2012. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Torana no. 5, 2003 and The Last Supper, 2016. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Omid Ali Avaz, 2016. Photo – Brenton McGeachie, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Omid Masoumali, 2016. Photo – Brenton McGeachie, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Self Portrait, the executioner, 2015. Photo – courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Pink dress, 2016. Photo – Mim Stirling, courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

Elle Murrell
Friday 1st March 2019

‘My work is about working out how to live in this world, it’s about compassion and empathy but also anger and resistance.’ – Ben Quilty.

From just the small sample of included works above, you can instantly recognise why Ben Quilty’s Quilty featured in our 10 Unmissable Exhibitions Of 2019. ‘For most of this century, Quilty has been delivering urgent visions of our time in history,’ introduces Lisa Slade, Art Gallery of South Australia’s assistant director of artistic programs, and the curated of this showcase. ‘An unlikely activist, he wields paint to draw our attention to our responsibility as critical citizens in an increasingly fraught world.’

The artist’s ‘radical humanism’ has seen him travel to war zones, refugee camps, and the Bali prison where ‘Bali Nine’ pair Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed. ‘Not many of us would willingly undertake such journeys, which reveal Quilty’s compassion for the victim, and his determination to use his skills (and an increasingly high profile) to make a difference,’ praised art critic John McDonald.

This exhibition, presented as part of the 2019 Adelaide Festival, spans Ben’s early reflections on the initiation rituals performed by young Australian men to revisions of the Australian landscape, and raw, intimate portraits of himself, his family and his friends. ‘My work is about working out how to live in this world, it’s about compassion and empathy but also anger and resistance,’ explains the artist.’ Through it, I hope to push compassion to the front of national debate.’

Bringing the artist’s extraordinary canvases to their largest audience to date, the showcase highlights the brave evolution of Ben’s output over his three-decade-spanning career. The richly textured works dare us to question our history and engage with our world, particularly as policy becomes more insular and individuals feel more isolated. It comes as no surprise, then, that the artist connected with Sydney hip hop collective The Herd – known for their politically charged tracks, social commentary, and activism – to open this show with a performance in the Gallery’s forecourt.

Quilty by Ben Quilty
March 2nd to June 2nd
Art Gallery Of South Australia
North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Free Entry

June 29th to October 13th
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art

November 9th, 2019 to February 2nd, 2020
Art Gallery of New South Wales

This Week

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

News

Humans Landed On The Moon Today!

Geelong Gallery is celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘mankind’s giant leap’ with a captivating exhibition, bringing together...
Elle Murrell

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.

Architecture

An Experiment In ‘Unfinishing’ A Home

An always evolving family home in Bondi Junction, by Alexander & Co.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Art

7 Women Shaking Up The Australian Art Scene

The trailblazing artists making their own unique mark on Australia's creative landscape. 
Elle Murrell

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

Art

'All We Can't See' · An Exhibition Illuminating The Nauru Files

A powerful exhibition by over 30 renowned Australian artists, responding to the horrors revealed in The Nauru Files, opens tomorrow in Sydne...

This Week

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

Architecture

An Experiment In ‘Unfinishing’ A Home

An always evolving family home in Bondi Junction, by Alexander & Co.

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

News

Humans Landed On The Moon Today!

Geelong Gallery is celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘mankind’s giant leap’ with a captivating exhibition, bringing together...
Elle Murrell

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

Similar Stories

Art

7 Women Shaking Up The Australian Art Scene

The trailblazing artists making their mark on Australia's creative landscape. 
Elle Murrell

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

Art

'All We Can't See' · An Exhibition Illuminating The Nauru Files

A powerful exhibition by over 30 renowned Australian artists, responding to the horrors revealed in The Nauru Files, opens tomorrow in Sydne...