It is hard to believe that it has been nearly 13 years since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Unfortunately, war has remained a constant presence ever since with battles raging between and within countries in all parts of the world.

More than 100 years since the end of the World War I, there seems little likelihood of achieving peace on earth anytime soon, with new conflicts continuing to develop while existing skirmishes continue unabated, often for years at a time and usually with devastating consequences.


An exhibit now showing at The University of Queensland Art Museum – Conflict: Contemporary Responses to War – examines war in a post-9/11 context. Aspects of the contemporary are considered through the four themes: 9/11 and War Art in the New Millennium, Memorials and Remembrance, Colonisation and The Machinery and Technology of War.

According to museum exhibition curator Samantha Littley the exhibition explores “work by artists who have, in personal responses or through official art schemes, engaged with war and its aftermath”. Littley believes that this exhibition is significant because it not only examines conflicts that have been officially acknowledged, but also those not necessarily afforded such status, which includes Australian colonial conflicts.

Gordon Bennett - Notes to Basquiat
Gordon Bennett – Notes to Basquiat

The work of more than 40 Australian and international artists feature in the exhibition, including painter Ben Quilty and video artist Shaun Gladwell, both of whom were official Australian War Memorial artists in Afghanistan. Other artists whose work features includes the likes of George Gittoes, Fiona Hall, Wangechi Mutu, Tom Nicholson, Raquel Ormella, Joan Ross, Caroline Rothwell, Khaled Sabsabi, Santiago Sierra, Judy Watson, Jemima Wyman, John Young and urban Indigenous artist Gordon Bennett.

Conflict: Contemporary Responses to War will be on display at the UQ Art Museum, University Drive, St Lucia Campus until Sunday, 7 September 2014. The gallery is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm every day and entry is FREE.