Speeches and Opinion
02 November 2019
We live in ‘Liquid Times’ – a great metaphor, coined by the late Zygmunt Bauman to describe modern society. A society incapable of maintaining its form, a society where old social bonds are being replaced by more fluid, and flexible forms of identity and association giving rise at once to more individualised, and more globalised lives that drive us through uncertainty, to become more adaptable.
Anxiety Culture and the Future – The value of art and culture for creating empathy and hope for the future – Adrian Collette AM
19 October 2019
In his book Man’s Rage for Chaos, Morse Peckham wrote: ‘Art is the exposure to the tensions and problems of a false world such that man may endure exposing himself to the problems and tensions of the real world.’ I came across Peckham’s quote whilst listening to a lecture given by Brian Eno. Brian Eno, the man who made music Roxy, Talking Heads edgy, and U2 surrender. A brilliant artist who describes art, indeed defines art, as ‘everything we do that we don’t have to do’.
26 September 2019
As our mineral resources helped us fuel our economy, our creative resources will help us navigate this fourth industrial revolution. We are entering an era of acceleration that is already disrupting industries, communities, relationships. A time of unprecedented change is upon us. But rather than hide from this change, we will embrace it. Because we preside over the cultural and creative resources most needed to make sense of it. The cultural and creative resources most needed to properly explore cultural, social and economic opportunities that will come with it. At a time when our future is rushing towards us and opinions are dividing around us, the arts have a bigger and more public role to play.
26 September 2019
Contemporary Australia is an unfathomably more complex place than in the 1960s. But I think the value of the Australia Council, when it is working at its best, is pretty much as Nugget Coombs described it: it should be a strongly civic-minded organisation, supporting artists as they challenge and give expression to our cultural understanding and identity.
13 August 2019
Dr Wendy Were, presents the final keynote at REMIX, Sydney - Friday 12 April 2019. As the final keynote for REMIX, my role is to gently send you on your way after a pretty intense two days. I suspect, like me, many things are now whirling in your brains. This is not a formal summing up, but I hope you will hear echoes of the last two days in what I’ll briefly share with you now.
29 May 2019
It is my privilege to meet with you today on land where people have gathered to share art, culture and knowledge for more than 60,000 years. I would like to add my acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land on which we meet - the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples present this evening, and Elders past, present and emerging. I would also like to thank you, Yvonne Weldon, for your warm welcome and acknowledge colleagues Wesley Enoch and Lee-Ann Buckskin.
28 February 2019
It is an absolute honour to open CONCRETE, the final exhibition in Jam Factory’s acclaimed ‘art design architecture’ series, which has celebrated the links between these three disciplines through the very materials that surround us: WOOD, GLASS, STEEL, and culminating with CONCRETE. The CONCRETE exhibition we celebrate tonight is a potent example of the extraordinary artistry and skill that Australia is home to. It’s central to my mission as the new CEO of the Australia Council to ensure that there is greater recognition of the true public value of arts and creativity in this country.
24 September 2018
Five years ago, our then Chair, Rupert Myer, and I visited a visual art exhibition in Perth HERE&NOW13. This project wasthe result of an exceptional partnership between the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at University of Western Australia and DADAA. It brought together eleven of Western Australia’s outstanding artists with disability to explore processes of communication, embodiment and narrative through a variety of art forms including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, performance and the digital medias. Rupert and I had been in Perth for a Board meeting and had been encouraged to stay on for the weekend to visit the exhibition. I remember distinctly walking into the grounds of UWA – a campus with striking and commanding buildings, sweeping lawns, and then into a gallery I had not visited before. I hadn’t really prepared or read the background for the exhibition nor what to expect of the gallery.
18 September 2018
The Australia Council has long seen culture as an essential pillar of sustainable development. We know that investment in the arts improves civic engagement, nurtures individual wellbeing and contributes to happier, more vibrant communities. Indeed, in Australia, like in so many countries, art, culture and commerce have helped knit our society together. Here, we also have the incredible contribution of our 70,000-year history of Indigenous culture and storytelling, which underpins and provides a unique foundation to the past two centuries of settlement and migration from around the world.
11 September 2018
“My reflections on leadership, learnings and legacy” Tony Grybowski, CEO, Australia Council for the Arts. · Acknowledgement of Country – The Nalama People. · Acknowledgement of PAC Australia and the invitation to attend. Two weekends ago I was in Melbourne at the opening of a show, by visual artist, Danie Mellor, in a commercial gallery. Known for his large contemporary pieces evoking landscape and cultural history, he created a significant and inspiring new work stretching across an entire wall, titled “Land Story”, using infra-red photography showing hidden stories of the past in the present image.