Review: 30 Rules to Live By

Art, Arts, Arts & Culture, Reviews — By on August 6, 2014 4:19 PM








Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

In an exceptionally creative way, Amnesty International Australia’s art activism group ARTillery has taken this Article to a whole new level in their exhibition 30 Rules to Live By, by exploring issues within humanity via the universal human rights everyone is entitled to.

This powerful exhibition showcases the work of almost 30 young South Australian artists, each of whom have been given the chance to interpret one of the 30 Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in any artistic medium.

Each artist has an individual story or reasoning behind their contribution to 30 Rules to Live By, many of which were explained to the crowd at the launch party on Friday night. Some artworks came from personal immigration stories or experience with family being deprived of their rights, while others simply found inspiration in another’s story.

Lining the walls of the Amnesty International offices are some insightful artworks at every level of skill and in a variety of media. From largely detailed acrylic portraits of Indigenous Australians to cartoon sketches, and even glasswork emphasising the need for relationship equality, there are 30 pieces of art that will intrigue your mind. You can even play with a kaleidoscope!

It certainly satisfies a range of artistic tastes. In an oddly fitting way, the contrasts in artistic styles could be translated into the differences in access to basic human rights.

Lindsay, an organiser of the event and ARTillery volunteer, explained that this exhibition is different from any other they have held in Adelaide because it is heavily fixed upon a relevant theme that many people care about – 30 rights every human deserves.

“I think it’s unexpected, mind blowing and honest,” she explained.

But bare in mind, these pieces were not made to simply hang on a wall and be ignored; the artists are nothing but passionate activists and they want to open your eyes too.

Quite simply, this exhibition calls for action; the artists and organisers have put together a show filled with touching artwork that makes you reflect. You will start to question many of the wrongdoings in this world as you read the story behind each painting, drawing or mixed media piece and feel the need to act.

Even if you are not interested in Adelaide’s art scene, you should visit the space purely for the learning experience.

As it states on the walls of the gallery space: “In the battle for human rights, art is our artillery.” It is small events such as this that lead the way for change.

30 Rules to Live By will be on as part of the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival until August 24 at 14 Grote St. For more information visit the SALA website at

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