William Kelly, widely considered the social conscience of Australian art, once said “Art can’t stop a bullet, but it can stop a bullet from being fired.” Can it?
Filmed on five continents, with contributions from over 20 artists, thinkers and activists, this documentary explores the power of art to influence the violence in our world.
The film documents the creation of Kelly’s monumental artwork “Peace or War/The Big Picture”. It is a tapestry of history and art, drawn from major artworks and photos from the defining conflicts of their times. This immense visual collage allows the audience to navigate through time and place, meeting survivors of these horrific moments in history and the artists who have created work commenting on these periods, some of which have become iconic.
Through Kelly’s drawings, the audience is transported to the concentration camps of the Third Reich, the bombing of Hiroshima, “the troubles” in Ireland, the race riots in the US and Pol Pot’s Year Zero.