Paul Bibby April 24, 2007 AMONG the countless images of heroism and loss associated with the ill-fated Anzac campaign, one collection stands out in Lianne Gough's mind.
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," Gough said. "It just struck me what a tragic, senseless campaign it was. I just wanted to show the humanity and the expressions on their faces."
The outcome was Glorus Fallen — a multi-portrait painting that emphasises the identity of each fallen hero. Yesterday, it won the Gallipoli Art Prize.
The award goes to an Australian, New Zealand or Turkish artist whose work best depicts the spirit of the Gallipoli campaign. It comes with a $15,000 cheque, but money appeared to be the last thing on Gough's mind.
"I just wanted the faces to tell the story," Gough said. "I wasn't really doing anything other than trying to paint them as real human beings."
Head judge John MacDonald said the work of artists such as Gough was important in an era when so many artists felt "compelled to challenge and offend public taste".
"In a lot of art prizes there is this sense of people wanting to be the most challenging and confronting," he said.
"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."
Now in its second year, the Gallipoli Art Prize is run in parallel with an exhibition to honour Turkey's war dead, the Canakkale Art Prize.
Gough said she viewed Gallipoli as a site of reconciliation as well as tragedy, heroism and war.
"I think of it as a place that commemorates two sides that are now friends and allies and I wish I could have put some Turkish soldiers into the painting.
"Somewhere in Turkey there is a collection of old photographs of young men who went off to war and never came back."