Lyndell BROWN
 Charles GREEN

Lyndell BROWN
Australian born 1961

Charles GREEN
Australian born 1953

Afghan National Army perimeter post with chair, Taran Kowt Base, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan 2007, 2009 (printed)
from the Approaching storm series
inkjet print
155 x 107.5 cm
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009 (2009.188)

Lyndell Brown and Charles Green have collaborated as artists since the late 1980s, producing works in a range of media, from paintings and photographs to montage and text-based works. At the heart of their wideranging practice has been an interest in art history and rewriting narratives, informed by their  fascination with globalisation, memory and, occasionally, personal histories.

In 2007 the artists were commissioned by the Australian War Memorial to travel to Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf as Official War Artists, participating in a program established during the First World War with the intention of ‘recording and interpreting the Australian experience of war’. They travelled with the Australian Defence Force to bases often connected to larger US operations, at a time when the coalition forces were attempting to stabilise activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and combat terrorist groups.

This image, one of thousands of photographs taken by Brown and Green, was captured on a late afternoon jeep drive to the very perimeter of the Taran Kowt Base. Atop a seemingly makeshift compound of crates, shipping containers and tarpaulins are the silhouettes of two Afghan soldiers, who look out to a sublime, desolate mountainous landscape beyond. Taken looking up to the soldiers, clearly absorbed in their actions, the photograph invites consideration of who is the observer, and who is the observed.

Maggie Finch