Art is a Weapon

Art is a Weapon takes you back to an Australia gripped by the Cold War. Amid propaganda for and against communism, artists turned to an image familiar to most Australians; the Southern Cross flag of the Eureka Stockade.

The Cause

A Rebel Flag

The flag chosen by the miners to represent them at Eureka has now become one of the most famous symbols in Australian history. The flag shows a representation of the Southern Cross (Crux), a constellation of which appears in the sky all over the southern hemisphere. The five brightest stars of Crux have become represented in the design, although many dimmer stars are also part of the constellation.

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Nothing To Lose But Your Chains

The artists that created the Eureka portfolio belonged to the Melbourne Popular Art Group. Although not a part of it, the MPAG had strong connections to the Communist Party of Australia. Founded in 1920 by a group including Jock Garden and Adela Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the British suffragist), the CPA advocated a socialist state in Australia.

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Rabble, Revolution, Representation

Early on 3 December 1854 British military forces and police stormed a stockade built by protesting miners at Eureka on the Ballarat goldfields, leaving about thirty diggers and troops dead. Ever since, various cultural and artistic depictions of the Eureka Stockade have attempted to portray the event in a way consistent with a particular ideology or cause.

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