The Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, in conjunction with Olsen Irwin Invites you to the opening of ‘Return to Anzac Cove: Your friend the enemy’
This Friday 10 April 6pm
The Anzac legend at Gallipoli is engrained into the Australian psyche. The bloody theater of modern warfare proved to be the testing ground for an infantile nation. Australia, though young, stood bravely beside her brothers and sisters of the British Empire and entered the War whole heartily.
Out of the horrific events observed, not just at Gallipoli, but also, throughout the Great War, come national ideals of mateship, resolve and the “Digger”. It has been a constant subject of fascination for many Australian artists, musicians, play writes, politicians and historians.
The Great War changed everything, as put so eloquently by British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey
“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”.
Australia lost more soldiers per capita then any other nation in the world. The cream of a generation was lost in battalions of friends, church groups, sporting clubs and workers unions. Every small town in Australia, public institution and school displays the scars of the war in the form of an Honour Roll, Memorial Hall or garden.
The Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra is displaying an exhibition that reflects on the ultimate sacrifice given by those brave young Australian men in 1915. This exhibition portrays a landscape of tragic memory via the responses of 12 contemporary artists and features two Olsen Irwin Artists Guy Maestri and Luke Sciberras’ works,
The Exhibition was devised from two expeditions, one in 2013, one in 2014, groups of Australian and New Zealand artists set up their easels in the Dardanelles, revisiting what was once called ‘the most sacred corner of Australian soil.’ Tens of thousands of young men had lost their lives here during the 8-month campaign.
The exhibition’s title, ‘Your Friend the Enemy,’ originates in a letter written by Idris Charles Pike, the grandfather of artist Idris Murphy. The phrase testifies to an extraordinary relationship between the enemy camps.
During periodic ceasefires, Turkish soldiers would haul tobacco and papers over no-man’s-land into the ANZAC trenches, in exchange for biscuits and jam. On one occasion there was a note attached, signing off ‘from your friend, the enemy.’
The Exhibition opens Friday 10 April 2015 6pm at the Drill Hall Gallery, Kingley Street Acton. It will be opened by Bill Gammage adjunct professor in ANU Humanities Research Centre.