Sam Bullock, art and revolution in motion


When people think of "revolutionary art", the usual image is of socialist realism or the propaganda art of the Soviet Union or China. Others may think of the Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera.

Whatever that term inspires, it certainly may seem a thing of a bygone era. Though all good revolutionary art is of its time and says something about class and struggle. Brisbane artist Sam Bullock is a revolutionary with a lot to say today.

For Bullock, history didn't end in 1989, but rather in the last 20 years capitalism has developed in ever more horrific ways. Bullock paints narratives that depict either symbolic references to injustice or the world as it ought to be.

He expresses himself directly, hoping to challenge and leave his audience with little room to ponder ambiguities.

One of his more recent works Peter Garret: The Minster for Fucking the Environment is a case in point. Describing the painting, Bullock said: "He's proven once and for all that he's nothing more than a corporate stooge and a sellout."

Bullock depicts the struggles of the oppressed around the world. In particular his focus is on the plight of the Palestinians and Tamils. He also draws inspiration from the left movements in Latin America and the revolutions in Venezuela and Cuba.

Bullock is motivated by ideas of justice and compassion. "Pig on a Spit" was inspired by the tragic death of Mulrunji Doomadgee at the hands of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on Palm Island in 2004. Bullock said: "They said it was accidental, that he fell … The fact of the matter is that a coroner found that he died at Hurley's hands."

Bullock, 30, is quite accomplished for a young artist having had six solo exhibitions since 2000. He has had his work exhibited throughout Australia and as well as invitations to show at the OLOF Gallery in the Netherlands and the Outsider Art Fairs in New York and Vienna.

For Bullock, revolution isn't just something he paints, but something he lives. Bullock is a proud member of the Socialist Alliance and a tireless Green Left Weekly seller.

To view and buy Bullock's works, visit .]