GOING UP: Dean Beletich installs a new exhibit at the Lismore Regional Gallery examining years of artistic activism.
GOING UP: Dean Beletich installs a new exhibit at the Lismore Regional Gallery examining years of artistic activism. Marc Stapelberg

Art by John Lennon to share wall space with Bentley photos

POSTERS by John Lennon and Yoko Ono will share wall space with photos taken at the recent Bentley blockade in a new exhibition called Protest Songs: Artful Actions opening at the Lismore Regional Gallery on Friday.

Gallery Curator Kezia Geddes has taken the theme of art and activism and looked at the many different ways that art has been used in social change movements around the world.

"The idea for the exhibition was looking at art where the intent is to create political change or awareness around given causes," she said..

"I was also interested in how that way of working is about the audience and (finding) the best way to communicate a message or a cause, whether that's to a small group or politicians or to a mass audience...

"It also seemed to be a very creative place to work in and different to the standard way art works might be seen in a gallery."

The oldest work in the exhibition is a video from Arnhem Land of the Yolgnu people's bark petitions that were tabled in Federal Parliament in 1963 in opposition to mining leases that had been granted.

It was the first time Australian indigenous people were recognised in Australian law and an example of how cultural traditions were used to express land rights concerns.

There is also a collection of YouTube videos which Kezia said had become an important tool for activists to use in spreading their message.

The exhibition will be opened by the author of The Activists Handbook and law academic Aidan Ricketts, who has been involved in the campaigns to save old growth forest in the region and also the Gasfield Free Northern Rivers protest.

"Songs and art have been a part of all social movement campaigns, and now that intersects with social media," he said.



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