Real Job

This exhibition asserts creative practice is real work and interrogates how this labour is valued.

Art Exhibition coming up at Counihan Gallery In Brunswick in Brunswick precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Saturday 01 April 2023 to Sunday 21 May 2023
Launch Saturday 01 April 2023, 2pm

Union Banner image Bite the Hand that Feeds image Hobby image

Event published by Counihan Gallery on Sunday 26 February 2023.
Contact the publisher.

Australian society neglects the labour of visual artists. Artists are asked what they do for their ‘real job’ – what pays the bills?

Artists and artworkers are frequently exploited due to the unregulated nature of the industry, insufficient funding and lack of union coverage. Peak body recommended rates of pay are routinely ignored. Many are nervous to criticise institutional practices lest they ‘bite the hand that feeds them’.

The federal government has promised that artists will be recognised as ‘workers’, but what does this entail? Art is often considered separate from life, a trick that benefits those extracting profit from artists’ labour: if art isn’t work, then it doesn’t need to be remunerated.

Forming the Workers Art Guild, Noel Counihan was an artist and activist who made art in response to economic hardship. Artists in this two-part exhibition are organisers, activists and workers. What better place to discuss the value of artists’ labour?

This exhibition includes work by Aaron Billings, Amelia Dowling, Anna Dunnill, Ben Juers, David Haidon, Tia Kass, Judy Kuo, Danni McGrath, Hollie Moly, Stephen Palmer, Nina Ross, Madeleine Thornton-Smith and Catherine Story. Curated by Madeleine Thornton-Smith.

Accessibility information

This exhibition includes sound. Due to the varied sensory experience on display, this exhibition may be a difficult environment for visitors who experience sensory overload.


Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road (inside Brunswick Town Hall), Brunswick