Art & Democracy – Public Keynote and Panel – sold out!

The Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney.
Tuesday 20 January, 6pm
Duration: 80 mins

Keynote Address: Goenawan Mohamad
Panelists: Vernon Ah Kee, Stephen Armstrong and Van Badham
Facilitator: Whitney Fitzsimmons

Free Ticketed Event – SORRY SOLD OUT
ATF delegates do not need to book.

In 1980, writer and art critic Robert Hughes lamented that “We still have political art, but we have no effective political art”. Is this still the case three decades later?

Indonesian poet, playwright and public intellectual Goenawan Mohamad will give a keynote address that offers a rare insight to his experiences as an artist and publisher spanning an incredible era of social and political transformation in Indonesia. He will then join some of our country’s most extraordinary artists and cultural thinkers to discuss the state of Australian art and politics.

What role and agency do our artists have in shaping society, politics and democracy? How loud and courageous is their voice, and who is even listening?

It’s time to peel back the layers of our national identity, explore the vestiges of cultural cringe and see if our arts still define us, represent our diverse and dynamic society, and the way we’re viewed by our neighbours.

Be prepared for some radical ideas about how the arts can and should actually make a difference.



Goenawan Mohamad is an Indonesian poet, playwright, librettist and public intellectual. His works consist of several books of poetry, the most recent being Gandari (The Blindfolded Mother); plays and libretto, including Letters of Karna; and essays, including Marxisme, Seni, dan Pembebasan(Marxism, the Arts and Emancipation),Tuhan dan Hal-hal yang Tak Selesai (God and Other Unfinished Things). The tenth volume of his collected opinion-pieces, Catatan Pinggir (Sidelines), has just been released.

He was the founder and chief editor of weekly news magazine Tempo, until 2000. Tempo was twice forcibly closed by Suharto’s New Order administration because of its criticism of the authoritarian regime. In 1999, Goenawan was named International Editor of the Year by World Press Review magazine. Currently with other writers and artists he runs a small cultural centre in Jakarta, known as Komunitas Salihara.

Goenawan has been brought to Australia with the generous support of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

120521 Embassy Logo - Inline copy