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George W. LAMBERT
A sergeant of the Light Horse 1920
Media Release • 20 Feb 15

Follow the Flag: Australian Artists at War 1914 – 45

Over 150 works of art, created by Australian artists in response to the First and Second World Wars have been brought together to mark the centenary of Gallipoli in the exhibition Follow the Flag: Australian Artists at War 1914–45 at NGV Australia from ANZAC Day, 24 April to 16 August, 2015.

The works by many of Australia’s most well-known artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Streeton and Albert Tucker responded to the human story behind war and includes images and objects of the recruitment drives, departures, battlefields, prisoners and interns, as well as detailed imagery of the daily lives of the servicemen and telling images of those who remained at home.

‘The bravery, resourcefulness, loyalty and larrikin spirit that are so fundamental to the typical Australian identity might have had their origins in stories of bush life, but they were cemented by the First and Second World Wars,’ said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV. ‘One hundred years on, in the centenary year of the Gallipoli beach landing, art is still reflecting on these significant moments in Australian history.’

Follow the Flag will feature works by some of Australia’s most well-known artists, such as Arthur Streeton, Russell Drysdale, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, Frank Hurley and Max Dupain, shown alongside works by soldier artists and unknown makers.

Ranging from recruitment posters, to portraiture, to medical sketches, the exhibition will comprise a diverse range of works, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, sculpture, and vernacular art.

Highlights from the exhibition include Kristin Headlam’s Soldier boy 2002, depicting the cherub-faced Alec “The Kid” Campbell, one the many youths on the battlefields; George Lambert’s A sergeant of the Light Horse 1920, which was recognised as an image that captured the spirit and character of the Australian soldier; Grace Cossington Smith’s 1915 painting, The sock knitter, which has come to symbolise Australian women’s contribution to the war effort, which included knitting more than 1.3 million pairs of socks; and priceless ‘trench art’ displays, including jewellery and brooches fashioned on the front from shrapnel and plane debris.

The works have been gathered from NGV’s permanent collection, as well as private collections and public institutions from around Australia, including the Australian War Memorial.

Follow the Flag: Australian Artists at War 1914 – 45 is on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square from 24 April – 16 August, 2015. Entry is free.

Follow the Flag: Australian Artists at War 1914 – 45 is proudly supported by Principal Partner, Macquarie Group and Supporter, City of Melbourne.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS – Opening Weekend Events

Introduction by curator Susan van Wyk
Sat 25 April, 2pm
Commemorating ANZAC Day join exhibition curator, Susan van Wyk for an introduction to the exhibition.
Cost Free
Venue Exhibition Space, Level 3

Curator Talk by Susan van Wyk
Sun 26 April, 2pm
Exploring the work of Australian artists who drew on their experiences of war between 1914 and 1945, including Arthur Streeton, Russell Drysdale, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Frank Hurley and Max Dupain, with Susan van Wyk, Senior Curator of Photography.
Cost Free
Venue Exhibition space, Level 3

Artist Talk with Lyndell Brown and Charles Green

Sun 26 April, 2.45pm
Artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green share their response to a 2007 tour of the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, as part of the Australian War Memorial’s official war art scheme.
Cost Free
Venue Exhibition space, Level 3
Performance by Polyphonic Voices
Sun 26 April, 3.15pm
Songs of farewell by Polyphonic Voices take visitors on a musical journey through the ages that reflects on the sacrifice and costs of the Great War and other periods of conflict.
Cost Free
Venue Exhibition space, Level 3

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