25 JUNE - 7 AUGUST 2016

A group exhibition inspired by Gough Whitlam's two landmark speeches of 1972 and 1974.



25 JUNE – 7 AUGUST 2016

For the full exhibition essay and catalogue click here.

The Lock-Up in partnership with Blacktown Arts Centre and the Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University presents IT’S TIMELY TOO, an exhibition of new artworks framed by the two iconic speeches Gough Whitlam delivered in Blacktown in 1972 and 1974. 

In the early 1970s, Australians were demanding social change, rallying for sexual and racial equality and against the Vietnam War. In this climate of disquiet, Edward Gough Whitlam, firstly as opposition leader in 1972 and then as Prime Minister in 1974, journeyed to Blacktown to deliver two of the most iconic speeches in Australian history. Whitlam chose Blacktown because the area and its people represented the opportunity, diversity and complexity of the nation. 

In 2014 Blacktown Arts Centre, in partnership with the Whitlam Institute, invited contemporary artists to examine these speeches and to reflect on the ensuing cultural changes that completely transformed life in this country. 

In 2016 during the 100th anniversary of Whitlam’s birth, the exhibition It’s Timely Too at The Lock-Up expands on the 2014 Blacktown exhibition, inviting locally based artists and one of the original Blacktown artists, to reflect on the influence of Whitlam’s policies on their own lives and on regional centres such as Newcastle. 

Whitlam and his policies continue to polarise opinion, however there is no doubt there is an Australia before and after 1974. The very fabric of the society we now live in and the things we take as fundamental to our individual and collective experience of being Australian have been shaped by the radical policy shifts instigated by the Whitlam government. The works in this exhibition ask us to look simultaneously backwards and forwards; to pause and consider what we want the future to look like. 

An artist initiated project by Gary Carsley and Paul Howard, It’s Timely Too features Newcastle based artists including Raymond Kelly Snr, Maret Mesk, Shan Turner-Carroll and Zana Kobayashi and the women’s fibre arts group which includes Pat Davidson, Varelle Hardy, Petra Hilsen, Wilma Simmons, Emily Sinclair, Ruth Spence, Michaela Swan, Annette Tubnor, Margaret Adams, coordinated by Anne Kempton. 2014 commissioned works include artists Simryn Gill, Grant Stevens, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Deborah Kelly, Darren Bell, Gary Carsley and The Kingpins.  

It’s Timely Too is a Blacktown Arts Centre touring exhibition in collaboration with The Lock-Up and in partnership with The Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University.   

 IMAGE: Gough Whitlam opens Labour Election campaign, delivering his policy speech, at Blacktown Civic Centre, 13 November 1972. Photography by Rick Stevens