Deborah Kelly: No Human Being Is Illegal (in all our glory)

02/10/2015 - 02/09/2018

  • Ramesh Mario Nitiyendran from No Human Being Is Illegal (in all our glory) (detail)
    Deborah Kelly & collaborators Ramesh Mario Nitiyendran from No Human Being Is Illegal (in all our glory) (detail) , 2014
    pigment ink print on Hahnemühle papers bonded to aluminium, with collage from books and found materials, glue and UV protective varnishes
    200 x 109 cm
    Image Credit
    Courtesy the artist. Portrait Photographer: Sebastian Kriete. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney.

About the exhibition

Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), the work comprises 20 life-sized photographic portraits realised through ongoing discussion, exchange and art making between the artist, the subjects and public participants. The collaboration centres upon the nude photographic portraits of individuals who were intricately involved in the process. These raw and unornamented portraits developed over time as workshop participants added layers of archival and contemporary imagery specific to the subjects’ interests, attributes and vision, conveyed to the ensemble (through written, online or personal communications) by the portrait subjects themselves.

The portraits will continue to evolve throughout the tour and venues have the opportunity to undertake a series of on-site artist led workshops with their local communities. Through this ongoing process of collage and exchange, the portraits will draw from the personal and collective stories of each host community.

For the better part of the last three decades, Kelly has created a prolific body of mixed-media artworks that are at once unexpected, humorous, provocative, egalitarian, challenging and profound. Often politically motivated, her artworks explore ideas of discrimination in all its manifestations, highlighting racial, sexual and religious prejudices that exist in society today.

Educational resources will also be available as well as access to the artist to continue the evolving nature of the works through intensive artist led workshops and public programming. Additional ephemera documenting the artist’s process and research is also available, including an archive of over 3,000 photographs by photographer Nancy Skinner, video documentation of the artwork’s conception and development, and printed/audio recordings of stories relating to the portrait subjects.

About the artists

Deborah Kelly

Touring Venues
and Dates


A MAMA exhibition toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.


This project was created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) with the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The Artist or Curator Residency program is supported by the Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund.