Opening 22 January: COVID-Collaborations: A Shared Step on a Long Journey

The Shepparton Art Museum is delighted to partner with the Shepparton Festival to present William Kelly’s COVID-Collaborations: A Shared Step on a Long Journey.

The exhibition features collaborative works by 28 international artists and poets initiated by local Goulburn Valley artist, William Kelly. The exhibition is a continuation of the project COVID-Collaborations that was presented as a projection on the outside facade of the Shepparton Art Museum during the 2021 Shepparton Festival.

Stemming from a desire to capture the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, Kelly created a dialogue between artists by distributing a template image for participants to alter as they reflected on how their lives had changed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The resulting artworks depict thoughts, feelings, and commonalities from communities across the globe.

Jessica O’Farrell, SAM Exhibitions Curator, said:

William Kelly has captured a snapshot of life across the world at the peak of the pandemic and as we continue to live with COVID, the project COVID-Collaborations highlights how far we have come. The exhibition shines a light on how we have managed to stay connected across borders, language, and beliefs. 

Jamie Lea, Creative Director Shepparton Festival, said:

There’s something about this collaboration that can truly connect with each and every one of us.
The works show a deep connection (near and far) to a point in time of individual struggle, resilience, and personal growth.
What a brilliant concept by Bill and effort to engage all these artists from around the world. Thank you for your work, Bill.

COVID-Collaborations A Shared Step on a Long Journeywill open on Saturday 22 January 2022, with an opening event from 12pm at the Shepparton Art Museum. 

Visit SAM’s website for more information.

MEDIA PREVIEW: Thursday 20 January 2022 at 10am at the Shepparton Art Museum.

Exhibiting artist:

William Kelly, Mona Badamchizadeh, Tim Bass, Godwin Bradbeer, Charles Bremer, Cathy Drummond, Anne Elvey, Susan Fealy, David Hauptschein, Bill Hay, Edgar Heap of Birds / Hock E Aye Vi, Andy Jackson, Veronica Pritchard Kelly, Rama Mani, Andy Marcus, Janet McKenzie-Spens, Driss Alaoui Mdaghri, Ben McKeown, Mary Modeen, Rochelle Patten, Samuel Elias Pritchard, Alexander Schieffer, Alex Skovron, Peter Sparling, Theo Strasser, Ian Tully, Fatemeh Vafaeinejad, Claire Van Vliet, Raymond Watson.

About William Kelly:

A Goulburn Valley artist, Kelly has been a steelworker, Fulbright Scholar, truck driver, former Dean of the School of Art of the Victorian College of the Arts. His work has always been figurative, concerned with the human condition, and collaboration is a foundation of his socially aware art practice. Kelly’s work is included in the National Gallery of Australia; City of Guernica Collection, Spain; United Nations Collection, Switzerland; Shepparton Art Museum and over 40 other public collections across the world. In 2019, the multi-award-winning documentary film on his work Can Art Stop a Bullet/William Kelly’s Big Picture was released and has now been shown in over 20 countries. William Kelly is represented by the Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne.


About SAM 

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is one of Australia's outstanding regional art museums, showcasing our exhibitions and collections in new and exciting ways and creating a welcoming, inclusive and engaging space for all audiences. Artists are central to our work. Our programming is designed to be locally relevant and engage with global contemporary ideas. SAM is recognised for its significant Australian ceramics collection, and our nationally significant collection of Indigenous art. As the only public art museum in Greater Shepparton and north central Victoria, our mission is to present great art in Shepparton, and to contribute to the cultural enrichment, community engagement and economic prosperity of the region. 

About the Shepparton Festival 

Shepparton Festival was established in 1997 by community members who had noticed the need to have more locally accessible arts and culture offerings, and to also continue the growth and development of regional creatives. We are proud that we have since grown to become one of Australia’s longest running regional arts festivals, with 2022 marking 26 years of Shepp Fest. 

Each March the Festival commissions, develops and presents a thrilling 2-week program of events encompassing performance, music, literature, visual arts and film across a variety of venues in the region. In short, Unique Events in Unusual Places. 

Our purpose is two-fold: 

• To give artists and cultural groups a platform. With a focus on grass roots engagement, promoting that art is for the whole community. 

• To enhance Shepparton’s profile as a great place to live and visit; locals are “Shepp proud” and tourists are intrigued to discover what is so special about this place of ours. 

Media enquiries, please contact: Gabriella Calandro, Engagement Manager, SAM p: (03) 4804 5020 e: