Humid. Sticky. Wine. Champagne. Cheese. Strawberries. Artworks. Drawings, photographs, sculpture, etchings and prints, paintings. And lastly art onlookers. A parade of guests pointing, frowning, applauding and criticising well over 500 art works. Such was my evening.
It was delightful to accompany Andrew for his first annual student art show. I didn’t expect the volume of works which were on display or the throng of people. Yet art galleries are often like that. They come in two states. Screechingly empty and overflowing. I recall when I went to see the masters paintings in Canberra last year, the entry lines were unnervingly large. Thankfully once inside I could still take my time in front of the works of Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, Monet and Seurat.
Last night, Andrew gave me one of his works. It was called The Parade – named after a very different crowd indeed.
(I apologise for the quality of the image! I don’t have it with me, else I’d take another shot).
Upon seeing this piece, I had so many emotions. It’s hard to explain why ANZAC imagery affects me so much and it’s not recent.
For my 21st birthday, my mother bought me a copy of ‘The Last Anzacs’ by Tony Stephens (text) & Steven Siewert (photographs). This was not easy, it was 1999 and the book was published in 1996. She ended up ringing around publishers to find a copy.Since then, it has been reprinted, I think at least twice.
When the book came out, there were still a number of Gallipoli veterans alive in Australia. By 2002, the last Anzac (by the strictest definition) had died. For those of you who love black and white photography, I encourage you to check this slim, but oh so rich, volume out. The photographs have such warmth, respect and kindness to them. It appears that copies are still available from the 2009 printing at Fremantle Press.
One of my paintings – the digger (below) – was appropriated from a photograph in this book. I think it remains not only one of my best artworks but one of the dearest to me. I sold it to a friend and every now and then I visit and get to see him again.
Now – thanks to Andrew – I have a ‘new’ digger for my home.