2015 Sydney Peace Prize winner

George Gittoes, humanist artist and filmmaker

The Sydney Peace Prize citation reads:
George Gittoes AM: "For exposing injustice for over 45 years as a humanist artist, activist and filmmaker, for his courage to witness and confront violence in the war zones of the world, for enlisting the arts to subdue aggression and for enlivening the creative spirit to promote tolerance, respect and peace with justice."

Gittoes grew up in the Sydney suburb of Rockdale and studied Fine Arts at The University of Sydney. In 1970 he helped establish The Yellow House artists collective in Kings Cross with others including Martin Sharp and Brett Whitely.

Gittoes’ activism evolved through his work as a painter, film maker and photojournalist. He has chronicled conflicts and social upheavals in places including Nicaragua, Somalia, Cambodia, Western Sahara, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Bougainville, East Timor, South Africa, Palestine, Iraq and Pakistan.

In 1995 Gittoes was a witness to the massacre of thousands of Rwandans at a displaced persons camp where they had sought protection from UN peacekeeping forces. This inspired his painting The Preacher, which won the 1995 Blake Prize for religious art.

“I feel privileged to have been able to spend much of my life creating beauty in the face of the destruction of war” says Gittoes. “I have been waging a personal war against war with art.”

The Sydney Peace Prize will be presented at Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday 10 November where George Gittoes will be delivering the 2015 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture.

Tickets will be available via Ticketek from May 2015.