LOOBY Documentary Film + Q&A at Bowral Empire

LOOBY + Q&A @Bowral Empire Cinemas

Acclaimed documentary with artist Q&A

24 Aug 2022, 6.30PM

Bowral Empire, Spud Lane Studios & Mama Dojo/Loudhailer Present:


A documentary film on the life and art of Keith Looby followed by a Q&A with Keith Looby himself and political activist, social historian and cultural commentator, Humphrey McQueen.

Archibald Prize winner Keith Looby won major prizes at home and abroad. Today his name and works are hidden from view. Perhaps a habit of drawing colonialism, painting non-conformists and speaking up made him persona non grata? With sumptuous cinematography, candid interviews and a striking original score, LOOBY uncovers the life and work of an artist we need to remember.


This right here is my pick of the fest. Do not miss Looby.
— Andrew Peirce The Curb

Born in Sydney, Keith Looby entered the National Art School as a 15-year-old and graduated with an unmistakeable style that went on to win Australian painting’s highest plaudits including the Sulman, Blake and Archibald prizes. Looby’s insistence on painting controversial figures – from communist Rupert Lockwood to feminist Anne Summers – won him few friends in power.

Likewise, Looby's drawings on the horrors of colonialism – Black and White History of Australia – remain confronting today. As the indigenous artist and Archibald winner Blak Douglas remarks in the movie, “In the sixties, when these were created, it was an incredibly gallant thing to be portraying this kind of imagery – because it wasn’t far off the referendum!”

LOOBY’s original score complements the mercurial moods of the man, while its calm cinematography invites viewers to luxuriate in the striking figures and expansive scale of his work. LOOBY invites us to appreciate what establishment tastemakers no longer can. Love him or loathe him, his story uncovers the timeless politics at the heart of modern “cancel culture”.

Documentary running time: 76 mins, followed by a Q&A with Keith Looby and Humphrey McQueen.

Humphrey McQueen (left) and Keith Looby (right) take questions at Bowral's Empire Theatre Historian Humphrey McQueen (left) and artist Keith Looby (right) take questions at Bowral's Empire Theatre (Image courtesy Ian Jones)

Tickets: $20pp via Empire Cinemas Bowral, including light refreshments

This event is a prelude to the forthcoming Keith Looby exhibition at Spud Lane Studios from 27th August 2022.

All money raised from ticket sales was donated to the Southern Highlands Artisans Collective (SHAC) courtesy of Spud Lane Studios and Empire Cinema.

It’s a fascinating film, especially in an era of increasingly straitened and conservative artistic standards.
— Travis Johnson Cinema Australia
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