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George Gittoes

b. 1949

George Gittoes (b. 1949) is among Australia's best known artists. Gittoes studied at the University of Sydney and in 1970 was a co-founder with Martin Sharp of the Yellow House cooperative in Potts Point, Sydney. His early work encompassed filmmaking, performance art, installation and holography. During a stint in the United States in the late 1960s, Gittoes became interested in making art with a strong social and political statement, leading to the body of work that has since established his reputation. Gittoes's powerful images explore his personal concerns with war and violence, documenting many of the world's trouble spots and recent conflicts in places such as Rwanda, Yugoslavia and the Middle East. In an arrangement with the Australian War Memorial, in 1992 and 1993 Gittoes travelled to Cambodia and Somalia to document the work of Australian peacekeeping forces and in 1995 accompanied Army public relations staff to Rwanda to observe the aftermath of the country's civil war. Gittoes has said he believes in making art which is accessible and 'readable' to a wide public and that there is 'a role for contemporary art to challenge rather than entertain: my work is confronting humanity with the darker side of itself'. Gittoes is represented in most major public collections in Australia and his work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications. He lives and works in the village of Bundeena, south of Sydney.

Updated 2018