Up from the Vaults with Dr Raafat Ishak

24 Apr 2020

Connections: Vivienne Shark LeWitt, John Brack and William Strutt

This month, as part of our new online delivery of the Inside Out program, we welcome artist and VCA lecturer Dr Raafat Ishak, who draws from his close knowledge of the University of Melbourne Art Collection and its history to present the first of our fully digital Up from the Vaults talks.

Between 1996 and 2010 Ishak was the Potter’s conservation technician, and his survey exhibition Raafat Ishak: recipes for aversion and strategy. Work in progress #6, was held here in 2010. Since that time, Ishak has continued his interest in our Collection through his role as a lecturer in Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, where he is Head of Painting.

Here, you’ll hear from Ishak as he discusses works by Vivienne Shark LeWitt, John Brack and William Strutt – three artists from three different generations of Australian art, whose work is held in our Collection. You’ll hear insights into the new relationships between these disparate artists and their work as Ishak finds common threads in their approaches, including the subtle forms of protest and the criticism of art and its institutions that each artist employed.



Dr Raafat Ishak is Head of Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts and a practising visual artist. Working across painting, sculpture and site-specific drawing, Ishak’s practice is informed by the history of painting and architecture. His exhibitions include Chicken River, Gertrude ContemporaryMelbourne, 2018; 1977, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2017; Painting, More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2016; The Future of a Promise: 54thVenice Biennale, 2011; NEW10, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2010; and Cubism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2009. Ishak is a founding member of Ocular Lab Inc and is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.