The Sydney Project

Community Arts & Cultural Development


Propaganda is a two-week cultural festival in Sydney in October 2019. It will include an exhibition of poster art/public art from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, a film event, an exhibition and a music programme.

Days Left

Propaganda is a two-week cultural festival in Sydney in October 2019. It will include an exhibition of poster art/public art from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s.

There has never been an event that reflects the breadth and range of creative upheaval that took place at that moment in time.

Propaganda is partly about the art but more importantly it is about the whole package – art, politics, theatre, film, social issues and music. The art will be postered around inner Sydney alongside current event posters. There will be supplementary runs on street poles and in cafes and an exhibition of original artwork.

Propaganda will also include a film festival and a music programme.

Sydney suffers from cultural amnesia, unaware of its own cultural history and how that has shaped local and international art practices. Hopefully seeing this heritage again will provoke current artists into the public sphere and into making provocative art for both a local and global audience.

Phantom City: This exhibition will initially just appear in public spaces with events and venues that no longer exist. This strategy will provoke interest in the art but also an interest in the disappearance of so many important art spaces. We need to have that conversation about the role that urban geography shapes culture and vice versa.

Politics and the Echo Chamber: In this century communication exists mostly in the confined spaces of Facebook and other digital arenas. People are singing to the choir. Poster art and public art go back hundreds of years in the west and in China as the only way for ordinary people to speak truth to power. The message on the walls is heard by everyone. So, let’s talk about social discourse and art.

Parsing the soul of Sydney: Of all the major capital cities in Australia and perhaps even the West, Sydney takes the least care of its own heritage. Melbourne has Heide, the Carlton set and more lately Nick Cave. The question is, did Sydney at that time have a style of its own?

Funds raised through the ACF will be used to pay artist royalties. It will also allow the Artistic Director and the Curator to conduct necessary research of the original artworks that will form the back-bone of Propaganda. There is not a single location where the original artworks can be accessed. Therefore some travel will be involved. In addition Propaganda will need to locate a modest office space.

The festival will also need to lock in the performers and the speakers who will be taking part and commit to their fees. This has to be done well in advance. Propaganda will also have to secure some exhibition space and other venue spaces and will have to provide appropriate deposits. There is also the costs associated with the catalogue and the printing and distribution of the posters. These costs will not be incurred right now but they are there. Finally Propaganda will have to allow for the appropriate administrative costs such as insurance and accountancy costs.

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Lesa-Belle’s career began in the theatre as a performer and a producer. She has been involved with the Australian theatre and film industries including an positions at the Australian National Playwrights Conference, Theatre Workshop at Sydney University and The Performance Space.

From the 1980s to 2000, Lesa-Belle worked in the media as an editor and creative director of magazines devoted to the arts.

This century she has been involved in art history, is currently writing about 19th century Australian art and is on the Board of the Power Institute.

She is currently developing The Sydney Project about street art in Sydney with author and film producer Toby Creswell.