The parade

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.

The Parade

The Parade. Original art print by Andrew Grant 3/3.

(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.

The Digger

The Digger, Mixed Media & Acrylic, Alyshia Hansen 2008

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Posted on November 30, 2011, in Art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have a similar response to veterans of both World Wars. The Imperial War Museum has an impressive art collection, and I remember being stopped in my tracks by the dispaly they used to have at the National Portrait Gallery, which was accompanied by Siegfried Sassoon’s poem, Blighters.
    In case you are unfamiliar with it , this is how it goes:

    The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
    And cackle at the Show, while prancing ranks
    Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;
    ‘We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’

    I’d like to see a Tank come down the stalls,
    Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home, sweet Home’,
    And there’d be no more jokes in Music-halls
    To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.

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