World-Pictures: Art Finding Pathways Across the Century of Turbulence, 1914-2024

Investigating artistic practice that has been a research method in imagining the movements of humans embedded in turbulent flows, involuntary global movement of peoples, refugees and asylum seekers due to conflict and humanitarian crises between 1918 and 2024.

Lyndell Brown/Charles Green and Jon Cattapan, Scatter 2 (Santa Cruz). Detail. 2017. Acrylic and oil on duraclear film on perspex. 84 x 310 cms
Lyndell Brown/Charles Green and Jon Cattapan, Scatter 2 (Santa Cruz). Detail. 2017. Acrylic and oil on duraclear film on perspex. 84 x 310 cms

The project maps how and where artists across the world, both as subjects of these forces and as embedded or detached observers, reflected on and documented borders and bodies subjected to migration and exile. It links with researchers in war art, terror and counterinsurgency. It proposes new models of artistic inclusion and collaboration. It studies and creates new artistic representations of force to chart and understand the disruption that accompanies deterritorialisation and the fracturing of geographies, with a particular focus on movements of exiles since the mid-1970s.

In August 2016, the Vietnamese government abruptly cancelled an elaborate Australian cycle of celebrations meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. There were plans for about 3,000 Australian visitors, including veterans of the battle, to converge on the site, a busy, working farm, not publicly accessible (the team has been there). Celebrations unravelled in the face of a Vietnamese veto, provoking an Australian media storm about the unfairness of denying the commemoration. By contrast, a perceptive ex-Army observer, who had been stationed near Long Tan during the Vietnam War, wondered how Darwin residents would have felt if Japanese navy pilots returned for a reunion in Darwin to mark their bombing raids. He suggested a better course would be a service at the Australian War Memorial (AWM). Art is at the heart of the War Memorial and art is also, according to Australia Council for the Arts research, at the centre of our idea of Australia. The Long Tan anniversary shows our need to imagine others' tragedies alongside our own and tackle, head-on, the insularity within the perspective that war is the crucible of Australian nationhood gifted through heroes, instead of respectfully advancing perspectives that portray why we must share in responsibility for the state of flux and emergency that marks our period. This would immeasurably enhance remembrance and respect for our own and others’ dead. The research integrates research on humanitarianism and war across art making and art history to transform art curatorship, art practice, and art history to the benefit of Australia.

Outcomes / activities

The project is constructing networks across borders that focus attention upon our place on the map of the world - the global South adjacent to Asia - building an international network of scholars, curators and visual artists. The program will enable collaboration between artists, curators and academics, from graduate students and Early Career academics to scholars with established reputations across the international art community. Some of the outcomes since 2017 are:

Conferences, workshops and symposia

  • 2019: Turbulence, Conflict and Gardens of Remediation, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Oct. 2019. Conveners Jon Cattapan and Charles Green
  • 2018: Postnational Art, AAANZ Annual conference, Melbourne, Dec. 2018, collaboration with Centre of Visual Art. Convener Charles Green
  • 2018: The Visual Arts, Humanitarianism and Human Rights, Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, April 2018, collaboration with Centre for the Cultural History of War, University of Manchester. Conference conveners Charles Green, Ana Carden-Coyne
  • 2017: Art, War and Humanitarian Crisis 1919-2019, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, April 2017, collaboration with Centre for the Cultural History of War, University of Manchester. Conference conveners Charles Green, Ana Carden-Coyne


  • Brown, L., and Green, C. "No Agency: Iraq and Afghanistan at War. The Perspective of Commissioned War Artists," in Margaret Baguley and Martin Kerby (eds.,). Mars and Minerva: The Palgrave Handbook of Artistic and Cultural Responses to War (1914 - 2014) in the Anglo-Saxon World (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019); 28 pp.
  • Brown, Lyndell; Green, Charles; Cattapan, Jon and Gough, Paul. "Revisioning Australia's War Art: Four Painters as Citizens of the 'Global South'," in Humanities, vol. 7 (April 2018): 12 pp..

Creative works

  • Green, C. and Brown, L. The Far Country (Melbourne: ARC One Gallery, 2019)
  • Cattapn, J., Gough, P., Green, C., and Brown, L. Turbulence, Gardens, Conflict: Pathfinding Across a Century of War, 1918-2019 (forthcoming Melbourne: Domain House, Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria, 2019)
  • Green, C. and Brown, L. 100 Years of Turbulence (Castlemaine: Castlemaine Regional Art Gallery and Castlemaine State Festival, 2019)
  • Green, C. and Brown, L. Morning Star (Paris: Australian Embassy, 2018)
  • Green, C. and Brown, L. Sir John Monash Centre commission, woven by the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne, for the Sir John Monash National Monument, Villers-Bretonneux, France, and the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, 2018

Project details


ARC Discovery Project funding commencement: 2017 (active)

Project team

Professor Charles Green
Professor Jon Cattapan
Professor Paul Gough (RMIT)
Professor Ana Carden-Coyne (University of Manchester)
Dr Lyndell Green


Professor Charles Green