First Landing to Last Post: contemporary perspectives on 100 years of service

Sue Ford, Somewhere in France

This exhibition is a major contribution to Parliament’s commemoration of the Centenary of ANZAC. It will feature a selection of contemporary artworks depicting the work of Australian Defence Force personnel in conflict and peacekeeping operations over the past 100 years. Works by official war artists including Jon Cattapan, Shaun Gladwell, eX de Medici and Tony Albert will be shown alongside contemporary responses by Penny Byrne, Baden Pailthorpe, Sue Ford and others.

War and art may seem unlikely companions, but there is a strong tradition over many centuries of recording military history in art. The artworks are compelling visual records of the Australian military experience, and demonstrate the many diverse ways in which artists interpret and respond to these major events. For official war artists it is the first-hand experience travelling with Australian Defence Force personnel which informs their depictions of conflict. For other artists, their concerns may be more about memory and commemoration, or the personal, social and economic dimensions of conflict.

Works on display in the exhibition cover major conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved, including the First and Second World Wars, Vietnam, the Middle East, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.  

First landing to Last Post offers a glimpse into the Australian experience of war and the richness of Australian artistic practice, including paintings, photography, sculpture, and new media works. Works in this exhibition will be drawn from the Parliament House Art Collection and the collection of the Australian War Memorial, with selected loans from artists.

Luke Cornish, House on Back

When: 26 February 2015 – 30 June 2015

Where: Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area, Level 1, Australian Parliament House

Cost: free


Top right: Sue Ford (1943-2009), Somewhere in France: 1917 (1999), photograph, Parliament House Art Collection, © estate of the artist

Left: Luke Cornish (b. 1979), House on Back (2013), aerosol on glass, Courtesy of the artist and Art Equity, Sydney



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