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February 11, 2019

The Herd to open AGSA’s ‘Quilty’ exhibition

Performing in Adelaide for the first time in six years, The Herd will officially open AGSA's 'Quilty' exhibition with a gig on the Gallery's forecourt on 1 March.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Above: Ben Quilty's The Blue Pill (explain the world), courtesy of the artist. More details below.

Dust off your ’03-era disaffection toward the Howard Liberal Government and its dehumanising treatment of refugee boat arrivals (wow, that’s been a thing for a really long time now), because The Herd is returning to perform in Adelaide for the first time in six years.

The Sydney-based hip hop crew are booked to officially open Quilty, AGSA’s Ben Quilty retrospective, curated by Lisa Slade, and the first major survey exhibition of the acclaimed artist.


Quilty opening night
North Terrace, Adelaide 5000
5:30pm Friday, 1 March

“We’re looking forward to performing at the Art Gallery of South Australia in support of Ben’s exhibition, an artist all of us in the band greatly admire and respect,” The Herd’s Tim Levinson (AKA Urthboy) says.

“Adelaide is a special place to be during the Festival and the Fringe so we can’t wait to get amongst it.”

Much of Ben’s career as an artist has been spent dredging up dark and poignant beauty from the depths of human civilisation’s most hostile environments.

As the official war artist in Afghanistan, Ben spent three weeks embedded with Australian troops; accompanied by writer Richard Flanagan, he toured with refugees through Lebanon, Lesbos and Serbia; and he met with Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – two of the Bali Nine – at Kerobokan Prison in Indonesia while campaigning for their removal from death row.

“The exhibition presents a portrait of a socially engaged contemporary artist who is committed to art’s capacity to instigate change,” Lisa says.

“Quilty’s subjects are never objectified, but always rendered through the lens of personal experience. For most of this century Quilty has been delivering urgent visions of our time in history. An unlikely activist, he wields paint to draw our attention to our responsibility as critical citizens in an increasingly fraught world.”


Main image full caption: Ben Quilty, Australia, born 1973, The Blue Pill (explain the world), 2016, Southern Highlands, New South Wales, oil on linen, 183.0×173.0cm; Private collection, Courtesy the artist.

Quilty’s time at AGSA will be the first stop for the exhibition, before touring to Queensland and New South Wales.

The exhibition’s opening night kicks off on Friday, 1 March and will be opened by premier Stephen Marshall, before The Herd take the stage in the Gallery’s forecourt on North Terrace.

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