DEDICATED to the DEDICATED exhibition banner, courtesy Whitlam Institute
DEDICATED to the DEDICATED: Whitlam, the Arts and Democracy
“A society in which the arts flourish is a society in which every human value can flourish. A society where democracy is secure is a society where the arts are secure.“
– Gough Whitlam, 28 November 1975
18 October to 13 November 2022
Special Open Day: 1 pm to 4 pm, Sunday 13 November
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
Blacktown Arts are thrilled to welcome DEDICATED to the DEDICATED: Whitlam, the Arts and Democracy to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre on loan from the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University.
This major exhibition documents how Gough Whitlam viewed the arts not just as a means of enriching the quality of life, but as a fundamental human right and a precondition for a healthy democracy.
Gough Whitlam was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975 and led the enactment of a series of far-reaching political reforms.
On 13 November 1972, Mr Whitlam launched the Labour Party election campaign called It’s Time, at the Blacktown Civic Centre. The It’s Time speech is among the most significant political texts in recent Australian history and from it proceeded an almost complete reinvention of the nation and its culture.
“The western suburbs of Sydney, particularly from Parramatta to Penrith, will receive great benefit from the policy outlined by Mr Gough Whitlam, Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, at the public meeting held in Blacktown Civic Centre on November 13.”
– John Armitage, MP for Chifley, quoted in the Blacktown Advocate, 22 November 1972.
The exhibition features a collection of artworks that was gifted to Gough and Margaret Whitlam in 1979 in recognition of their landmark support for the Arts in Australia. The ‘Whitlams’ Folio’ includes works by John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, Lloyd Rees, John Coburn, Arthur Boyd and more, and is inscribed with a message of thanks to Gough and Margaret Whitlam for ‘the marks they have made on the Australian canvas’.
The new exhibition also documents how Gough Whitlam viewed the arts as a fundamental human right and a precondition for a healthy democracy. In his words, “A society in which the arts flourish is a society in which every human value can flourish”.
Blacktown Arts embodies the legacy of the Whitlam administration, striving to help artists shape the cultural environment and identity of Blacktown and beyond.
“The Whitlams’ Folio is one of around 37,000 items in the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection, which is unsurpassed by any other in Australia.”
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre will open specially on Sunday 13 November 2022, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s It’s Time election campaign speech in Blacktown.
The making of a Prime Minister
18 October to 13 November 2022
Explore how Australia’s 21st Prime Minister was shaped by the people, places and politics that surrounded him from an early age, and discover how these pivotal experiences went on to inform his nation-defining policies.
A touring exhibition of The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University.
Curator: Guy Betts
This exhibition draws extensively on the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection. We wish to acknowledge the assistance of: The Whitlam Family, The Folio artists and their families, Kim Williams AM, Patricia Amphlett OAM, Professor Barney Glover AO, Vice Chancellor – Western Sydney University, The Australia Council for the Arts, Those who shared their knowledge and recollections for the exhibition video.
Please note that due to the historical significance of the exhibition selected artworks have been replicated.