On Art, Activism and Empathy: George Gittoes and Luke Cornish

Having both worked in zones of conflict, Gittoes and Cornish speak with ArtsHub about their use of art as a means for social message – and how effective that might be.

In 2015 artist and filmmaker George Gittoes was awarded the prestigious Sydney Peace Prize for his humanitarian and peacemaking efforts. It was no surprise, given he has spent the last 45-years making work in, and about, zones of conflict.

Gittoes views his pursuit of war as an expression of his conviction about the value of art as a weapon for social change.

His passport reads like a checklist of travel warning alerts: the killing fields of Cambodia to Rwanda, war zones of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, Nicaragua, Bosnia and Baghdad, and most recently Chicago’s black neighbourhoods.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina