Art Was Their Weapon: The History of the Perth Workers’ Art Guild
The Workers’ Art Guild was a radical cultural and political force in Perth in the 1930s and 1940s, embracing new ideas in a provincial, isolated city.
The Guild’s innovative approaches to theatre and art were praised by critics, but its left-wing politics, influenced by the Communist Party of Australia, were denounced by many. Police and intelligence officers kept close tabs on the Guild, censoring its activities and intimidating and jailing its members in the lead-up to World War II.
Through the lives of its key players, such as writer Katharine Susannah Prichard and theatre maverick Keith George, Art Was Their Weapon illuminates a fascinating era in Western Australian history.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
‘Hyde’s book shows how even in a place as conservative and isolated as 1930s Perth, it is possible to use art, music and theatre as a means to inspire social change, whether in response to the Great Depression and the rise of fascism and war in the 1930s, or the many crises facing people and the planet today.’ Green Left
‘A short review cannot do justice to the way this detailed book develops the story, bringing to life the colourful and very individual characters of the time.’ History West
‘Art Was Their Weapon is rich in knowledge of cultural and political figures and events … It reminds us of the importance of the arts not only as a tool for creative expression but also as a means of unifying people via meaningful collaboration and participation.’ Limina
Royal Western Australian Historical Society Williams / Lee Steere Publications Prize (Winner 2020)