Covid Collaborations

A Shared Step in a Long Journey

22 January - 13 March 2022

Art that crosses boundaries. Art that shares values. Artists that convey their hopes. These propositions are central to the exhibition COVID-Collaborations: A Shared Step on a Long Journey, facilitated by internationally renowned, local artist, William Kelly.

During the international lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly initiated this collaborative project in association with 28 artists and poets from around the world. Kelly created and shared an initial ‘template’ image that could be altered, changed and animated by other creative voices. With this initial gesture, Kelly offered a space for others to convey their growing concerns and hopes under the most significant health and social challenge of our generation. The artworks in this exhibition share these thoughtful responses, which include: the home as a place of isolation, sanctuary and anxiety; dire circumstances faced by many First Nations people and People of Colour; and evocative images of hope, respect and aspirations for the future.

Rochelle Patten & William Kelly, A Shared Step on a Long Journey, 2020-21, inkjet print on paper, 42 x 29.7 cm. Courtesy of the artists © the artists
Edgar Heap of Birds & William Kelly, A Shared Step on a Long Journey, 2020-21, inkjet print on archival paper, 42 x 29.7 cm. Courtesy of the artists © the artists

For the duration of the 2021 Shepparton Festival – Unify, a selection of these artworks were projected, nightly, on the side of the new SAM building at 6 metres tall. Shepparton is a home for many language groups and art is a universal language. With responses from artists in the Goulburn Valley and from as far away as India, New York, Tehran and Casablanca, this project reveals that in a time of ‘separateness’, despite being isolated by the pandemic, we are closer than ever.

Artists: William Kelly with 28 collaborating artists – 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 and Raymond Watson.

© Daniel Bovalino

William Kelly, a Goulburn Valley artist, 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. His work is represented by Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne.

This exhibition is presented by SAM in partnership with the Shepparton Festival.





Location: Williamson Community Gallery, Level 2