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Australian War Memorial touring exhibition opens at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery



Pictured above : Simon Gende acrylic on canvas: Plane crash into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001



A major travelling exhibition from the Australian War Memorial, Art in Conflict, brings together 50 contemporary artists, showcasing diverse responses to war.

The exhibition includes more than 70 artworks on display at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery from this Friday to Sunday May 7 with works from famous artists on display for the first time.

The exhibition’s curators said the artists’ responses to conflict brought to light untold stories, reveal neglected histories and deepen our understanding of Australia’s experience of conflict, both past and present.

“This is a landmark exhibition for the Memorial, as it showcases almost 15 years of contemporary Australian art and the artists’ diverse responses to conflict,” Laura Webster, Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial, said.

“This is the first time that even staff have had an opportunity to view these works on display together.”

The exhibition sees three major recently commissioned bodies of work by the Memorial on display for the first time. They are two recent official war art commissions – Susan Norrie (Iraq, 2016) and Megan Cope (Middle East, 2017) – and a landmark commemorative work by Angelica Mesiti. “Through their works, artists Megan Cope, Susan Norrie and Angelica Mesiti each continues the tradition of art at the Memorial – to record and interpret the Australian experience of conflict – but they bring to it a conceptual rigour and breadth of understanding,” Ms Webster said. “They go beyond documentary to interpret globalised conflicts and invite us to understand different perspectives on these complex histories.”

Quandamooka woman Megan Cope said she hoped to inspire others with her experience of being an official war artist.

“I’m really honoured to have my work at the Memorial. It certainly is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. I never would have expected it, to be honest, so I hope that people like the work, and ask lots of questions, and think about our relationship with the Middle East.”

Mayor Jenny Hill said she was proud to see Townsville City Council work with the Australian War Memorial to bring Art in Conflict to Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

“Townsville is one of the country’s most significant garrison cities and I can anticipate how moving this exhibition will be for the many military members and families who come to visit,” Cr Hill said.

Leading Australian artists in the exhibition include Khadim Ali, Rushdi Anwar, eX de Medici, Denise Green, Richard Lewer, Mike Parr and Ben Quilty.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, a collection priority for the Memorial in recent years, is featured through works by Tony Albert, Paddy Bedford, Robert Campbell Jr, Michael Cook, Shirley Macnamara and Betty Muffler.

For more information visit the Memorial’s website: www.awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions/art-in-conflict

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