At the ANU Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra there is an exhibition of carpets created in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries over the last 40 years. The distinctive feature of these rugs is the inclusion of rockets, tanks, bombs, Hummers and lots of other armaments of war. I do not cry often in galleries but I came close in this exhibition. The tragedy and trauma of 40 years of invasion and occupation by large nations is visually woven into the traditional art form of rug making. The violence and brutality of war machinery pictured through the finely worked carpets I found confronting.
There is a gorgeous exhibition of artifacts of migrants to Australia at the Museum of Australian Democracy currently. The exhibition brings together stories, pictures, art works, photographs and other materials to tell fascinating stories of courage, bravery, loyalty and love woven through the migrant experience.
The stories are illuminated via belts, suitcases, glass artworks and lots of other treasures. One display has a roll of very large pictures of several generations in a refugee families. This exhibition has a focus on Jewish refugees whose stories have the added power of the intensity of their experience post World War Two.
Andrew Tenison created a striking set of black and white photos that respond to a WW2 negative he had found. The photographs are quite personal in the start black and white recreations that have a distinctively 40s vibe about the.
Each year the Casula Powerhouse hold an exhibition of works that are named as finalists in the Paramor Prize. The prize isnamed in honour of a local artist and seems to focus on adventurous multi-modal art. I love it because of the novelty and the way it challenges my thinking. Art is delivered via screens and other electronic devices, it emerges from sculptural and multi media approaches and there is still a representation of wall based two dimensional creations and all of it seems to stimulate and engage.
I do not put movies on this blog but I have included several samples of the varied art styles to give a sense of the exhibition.
The National Gallery brought together a set of works in their Australian area to reflect the great gifts and varieties of artists who recorded aspects of the experience of World War One.
The blurb for this reads: This powerful exhibition addresses wartime propaganda, front-line experience and remembrance through paintings, drawings and prints by Official War Artists, combatants and women. It also features a special focus on the remarkable artist Will Dyson.
The works range from standard historical recording of historical events and people to extremely brutal representations of the violence of war.
The National Library of Australia runs great historical document exhibitions. The Band Plays On was an exhibition that showed the sheet music and ephemera connected with World War One popular songs. The famous and popular songs are on the walls in the music etc. An exhibition like this is uniquely able to give a sense of the sentiment at the time on issues such as nationalism.
The Australian War Memorial is a great collector, commissioner and exhibitor of art. Recently they have opened an exhibition that celebrates the contributions made by indigenous soldiers to Australia’s foreign wars. (The AWM is yet to acknowledge the war they waged domestically against the spreading Europeans taking their land.)
The exhibition is awash with marvelous art. There are paintings and woven material. There are abstract works, portraits, and war scenes. The history side is rich and personal with experiences and recollections woven between the historical narrative.
It is a marvelous exhibition and below I have included a few samples of the art works and the link to the web page below.
There is another element of the flood of commemoration of the Anzac myth in the upstairs gallery at the Australian Parliament. It is a collaborative display of commissioned prints. Each print takes a different perspective on the ANZAC experience. One looks like a ghostly pale reproduction of the roll of honour at the Australian War Memorial. Another picks up on the difficulty of communicating within the experience of war. The artist uses fragments of things which have a connection with Gallipoli and turn them into a code.
“The portfolio consists of 10 prints, one by each artist: Mike Parr (Aus), Fiona Jack (NZ), Megan Cope (Aus), Daniel Boyd (Aus), John Reynolds (NZ), Shane Cotton (NZ), Sangeeta Sandrasegar (Aus), Helen Johnson (Aus), Brett Graham (NZ), Sriwhana Spong (NZ).” (APH website link below)
The exhibition includes the print which is accompanied by a clear artist’s explanation of their take on the Gallipoli reflection. The project and the exhibition is from the Australian War Memorial. There are a sample of phone pics below to give a flavour of the exhibition. The link below is for the APH page for exhibitions.
I love it when artists bring to the fore elements of our world that we prefer to keep silent about. The US government created black sites in part of their over reaction to the attack on the twin towers and the Pentagon. Bits sneaked out and then were forgotten. Jess Higgins has portrayed the anonymous brutal nature by puting up on the wall large charcoal sketches that are indistinct enough to convey the de-personalised nature of the program.
The Queanbeyan Arts Centre hosted one of the many art exhibitions reflecting on events during the First World War. All the paintings are submitted by members of the very active Queanbeyan Arts Society. I have included some pictures and posters from the exhibition. The styles and contents are varied and engaging.