Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Gallipoli artwork named among finalists

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Work by an east Auckland artist is among the finalists in Australia’s prestigious Gallipoli Art Prize.

John Richardson is a student of well-known local artist and tutor Tony Clarke, who runs TC Fine Art in Pakuranga.

The organisers of the Gallipoli Art Prize say the concept of conducting art competitions in Australia and Turkey to commemorate the legacy of the heroes who fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, during World War I, was conceived in 2004 and developed over the following two years.

“The project has achieved over a decade of successful competition due to the wonderful support from artists in Australia, New Zealand Turkey, and governments and communities in Australia and Turkey.”

The work Richardson entered into the competition is entitled Gallipoli – Past and Present and is painted with acrylic on canvas.

His artist statement says the painting encapsulates the memory of the ANZACs and today’s regenerated Gallipoli Peninsula.

“A distant St James Cathedral represents Great Britain, from which orders are issued to deploy the ANZACs to Gallipoli.

“Although time melts away, Aust. Private Robert William Hartley’s pocket watch forever captures the time of the first advance. His watch stops in the salt water as he exists his landing craft.

“Soldiers, like migrating birds today, gather along the peninsula.

“A young ANZAC finds safety behinds a wall of sandbags. He sees himself as a ‘sitting duck’.

“Red roses denote the blood spilt and lives lost. The Navy, symbolised by a menacing shark, sits offshore, just as the Australian submarine HMS AE2 patrolled the Dardanelles coastline.

“The Rev’d Captain Alexander Maxwell’s flag flew proudly, as he ran between the fallen ANZAC graves.

“He was on one of the last boats to depart Gallipoli in the successful and famous withdrawal.

“A bugle player is always a reminder of ‘The calls to arms’ and The Last Post.

“In the centre of the painting, ANZACs stand with their heads bowed – lest we forget.”

Richardson’s painting will be publicly displayed alongside the works of other finalists at an exhibition in Sydney from April 18 to May 12.

The art prize’s winner will be announced on April 17.

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