Memorial art and objects a source of inspiration for artist Carla Wherby
In January, Sydney artist Carla Wherby visited the Australian War Memorial to explore the collection. Wherby was awarded an Accessible Arts’ AART.BOXX scholarship, funded by Arts NSW in 2011. She is using the scholarship to attend the National Art School in Sydney and to visit institutions such as the Australian War Memorial. This new scholarship is designed to ‘improve access to arts and cultural funding for artists with disability.’ Wherby viewed collection items from the Art Section and the Military, Heraldy and Technology Section. The experience of seeing these collection items had a powerful affect on her. “When I arrived at the AWM I became very emotional and felt deep respect and sadness for all the men and women whose lives were forever changed and sometimes lost by serving in the armed forces” she said.
Through her art, Wherby seeks to explore “the psychological effects of war on those who served their country.” She said that “by putting certain images together that excite me, I hope [to] provoke people to think about certain things going on in the world that they might normally ignore or avoid.” Wherby’s bright collages are manipulated, altering their meaning and creating new and original narratives. Her series Women and War, celebrates women’s contributions to wars and peacekeeping operations throughout history. Wherby was particularly interested in art and items related to the Australian Women’s Land Army including recruitment posters, uniforms and ephemera. She ‘was amazed to see the work of Jon Cattapan, eX de Medici and Wendy Sharpe in person.’
Carla hopes that her scholarship, and visit to the Memorial will result in a large body of artwork inspired by Australia’s military history, past and present. "I came away so inspired and ready to create important, stimulating work” she said.
Thank you to Curator, Diane Rutherford, for helping facilitate Carla Wherby’s visit.
Alexandra Wiber, Assistant Curator, Art