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Creative Witnessing: Andrew Quilty and Ben Quilty


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Walkley Award-winning photojournalist Andrew Quilty is joined by his cousin, Archibald Prize-winning artist Ben Quilty, to discuss his new book This is Afghanistan.

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About the Event

Photojournalist Andrew Quilty is one of this country’s most distinguished war reporters. Artist Ben Quilty is renowned for his bold, confrontational paintings and political activism. The two also happen to be cousins.

Appearing together in conversation for the first time, they will discuss Andrew’s new book, This is Afghanistan, which offers a unique visual record of this vibrant, complex and resilient country’s last nine years of conflict and turmoil. Ben’s acclaimed portrait series, After Afghanistan, was created during his time as Australia’s Official War Artist in Afghanistan, and presents a deeply impressionist artistic record of the experiences of Australian forces embedded in that country.

Together, they will reflect on the immense responsibility of bearing witness through the camera lens and on the canvas. They’ll consider the power of photography and art to shed light on conflict and human rights, and the moral imperative not to look away.

Diana Sayed, CEO of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, will open the event, followed by a keynote address from Shuja Jamal. A researcher, advocate and the former director-general for international relations on Kabul’s National Security Council, Jamal will speak to the current political and social reality in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western forces.

A portion of proceeds from this event will go to the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. Individual donations to the AMWCHR can be made here


Accessible toilets available

Assistive Listening

Auslan Interpreted

Wheelchair accessible

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

About the Book

The bookseller for this event is Readings.

About Spring Fling

Spring Fling returns in 2023, and this year we’re going Above and Beyond.

We’re looking further, delving deeper, and asking bigger questions with outstanding thinkers who are reshaping our world and envisioning extraordinary futures.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian State Government.


Spring Fling


Andrew Quilty

Andrew Quilty is the recipient of nine Walkley Awards, including the Gold Walkley, for his work on Afghanistan, where he was based since 2013. He has also received the George Polk Award, the World Press Photo Award and the Overseas Press Club of America award for his investigation into massacres co... Read more

Shuja Jamal

Shuja is a former Afghan civil servant who relocated to Australia after the violent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. He has worked as a Special Advisor to the CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia before his current role as Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communications at the Jesuit Refugee S... Read more

Diana Sayed

Diana is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. She joined the organisation in October 2019 as an international human rights lawyer with experience working in both Australia and the United States. She is the former Campaigns Manager at Fair Agen... Read more

Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty (b.1973) lives and works in Australia. Widely known for his thick, gestural oilpaintings, Quilty has worked across a range of media including drawing, photography, film, sculpture and installation. His works often serve as a reflection of social and political events; from the current glob... Read more


The Edge, Fed Square

The Atrium Flinders Street Federation Square Melbourne Victoria 3000

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