26 MAY - 1 JUL 2018

An exhibition takes activism and protest as its cue.


26 MAY - 1 JUL 2018  


Newcastle has long been a site for radicalism from arguably the earliest environmental protest in Australia’s colonial history in the 19th Century through to the emergence of the group Rising Tide in the 21st Century, credited with being one of the first grass roots campaigns on climate change. Labour rights, Union movements and the Trades Hall Council’s commitment to a ‘fair go’ were politically foundational to the city’s history throughout the 20th Century. The HUNTER RED: SEEING RED exhibition takes this foundation of activism and protest as its cue, exploring the theme through contemporary art and social history. 

Within contemporary art practice it is not uncommon for an artist to declare themselves an activist harnessing the critical, conceptual and creative possibilities of art for the purpose of protest. The works in SEEING RED interrogate power and politics and address a range of issues which have been fought through protest actions:  Indigenous rights, environmentalism, feminism, the early trade union movement, war, injustice and human rights. 

The exhibition has been curated to include new commissioned works by leading contemporary artists, works from cultural collections within the Hunter region, together with works of national interest. SEEING RED features works by Dale Collier, Dean Cross, David Griggs, Tina Havelock Stevens, Maggie Hensel-Brown, Doug Heslop, Raquel Ormella, Baden Pailthorpe, Mike Parr and Mumu Mike Williams.   

In addition, activist David Burgess has included memorabilia from his anti-war protest on the Sydney Opera House, Newcastle Region Library has supplied images of protest such as May Day, marches against the Vietnam War, anti-nuclear rallies and protests at BHP, and The Wilderness Society has shared its photographic collection of protests locally and nationally. 

HUNTER RED: SEEING RED is part of the Hunter Cultural Collective project with partners Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle Art Gallery and The Lock-Up. 

Curated by Madeleine Kelman Snow and Courtney Novak. 


Hunter Red is a project driven by the Hunter Cultural Collective, a partnership between The Lock-Up, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Newcastle Art Gallery. Through the project, associated cultural institutions unpack the idea that the region is simply represented by a glass of Hunter Red, delving into complex curatorial responses across each site.  The project and partnership aims to tell the stories of our region, our collections and our institutions in unexpected ways, shifting perspectives while building and sharing audiences.  The project includes exhibitions, events, performances and public programs across all partner venues. 

 IMAGE: Doug Heslop Apathy Bores Me 2015