News and Editorial
Commissioning a portrait
Young and afraid: capturing humanity behind heroism
Sydney Morning Herald
April 24, 2007
AMONG the countless images of heroism and loss associated with the ill-fated Anzac campaign, one collection stands out for Lianne Gough.
The series of black and white photographs held by the Australian War Memorial is indelibly imprinted on the Geelong artist's brain.
"I thought about how young they were, how afraid they were, how sad it was that they lost their lives … I just wanted to show the humanity and the expressions on their faces," Gough said.
The outcome was
- a multi-portrait painting which emphasises the unique identity of each dead soldier. Yesterday it won the Gallipoli Art Prize.
The award is bestowed upon an Australian, New Zealand or Turkish artist whose work best depicts the spirit of the Gallipoli campaign, and comes with a $15,000 winner's cheque.
But money appeared to be the last thing on Gough's mind.
"I wasn't really doing anything other than trying to paint them as real human beings," she said.
The head judge, John McDonald, said the work of artists such as Gough represented an important grounding force in an era when so many artists felt "compelled to challenge and offend public taste".
"This prize is about trying to preserve an historical event. It touches artists' hearts rather than their venal desire for money and five minutes of fame."
The prize is run parallel to an exhibition to honour Turkey's war dead, the Canakkale Art Prize.