Australian official war artists

Korean War

Two artists who had served during the Second World War were re–appointed during the Korean War.

  • Ivor Hele (1912–1993)
  • Frank Norton (1916–1983)

Ivor Hele, Adjusting rockets on jets, 77 Squadron, Korea. ART40325.

Vietnam War

Two civilian artists were appointed during this war. Unlike earlier commissions, both were required to undergo jungle warfare training and expected to perform as active soldiers if necessary.

Ken McFadyen, Crew members, HMAS 'Hobart'; resupply at sea in demilitarised zone off the coast of Vietnam. ART40675.

Peacekeeping operations since 1999

East Timor (Timor–Leste)

With the deployment of Australian troops to East Timor in 1999, the largest overseas commitment since the Vietnam War, the Memorial saw an opportunity to revive the Official War Art Scheme and commissioned artists to record all aspects of Australia’s involvement in the INTERFET peacekeeping operations. Two commissions were realised in 1999, Rick Amor followed by Wendy Sharpe; and a third artist, Jon Cattapan, 2008.

John Cattapan, Waiting at H-Pod, Dili. ART93984

Solomon Islands
Australian troops have been deployed in the Solomon Islands since the introduction of RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) in 2003. In 2009, the Australian War Memorial commissioned eX de Medici to observe the peacekeeping activities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Middle Eastern operations
Peter Churcher was appointed in February 2002 to spend three weeks with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)in the Persian Gulf. He then flew to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and also spent time with the ADF stationed in Afghanistan.
Iraq and Afghanistan
In 2003 Lewis Miller was appointed to depict Australia's involvement in the conflict in Iraq.

The following artists work collaboratively and were appointed as official artists for Afghanistan and Iraq in 2007. They were attached to military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and Afghanistan to record and interpret the training, logistical and operational activities of the ADF personnel.

Lyndell Brown and Charles Green, History painting: outpost, Helmand province, Afghanistan. ART93319.

In October 2009 the Memorial commissioned Shaun Gladwell to tour with the ADF in Afghanistan. His war art forms a complex response to the technology, landscapes and soldiers he experienced in Afghanistan. In particular, it explores the way soldiers are trained to observe and quickly respond to foreign environments.

In October 2011 Ben Quilty became the fourth artist the Memorial has sent to the war in Afghanistan. He was attached to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) observing their activities in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kowt. His task was to record and interpret the experiences of Australian servicemen and women who are part of Operation Slipper.

Northern Australia

In May 2012 Tony Albert became the Memorial’s first official war artist to be attached to the Australian Army’s Regional Surveillance Unit North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE).  He trained with NORFORCE’s 2012 recruit intake at the unit’s Kangaroo Flats Training Area, South of Darwin.

Albert is the first Indigenous Australian appointed to the role of official war artist and the first commissioned to work on Australian soil since the Second World War. This commission was possible with the support of an anonymous donation and acknowledges the vital role played by Indigenous communities in the defence of Australia.

ART94987 ART94987

Exhibitions

Reality in Flames (touring 2014 - 2015)

Ben Quilty: after Afghanistan (touring 2013 - 2015)

Shaun Gladwell: Afghanistan (touring 2012 - 2014)

Perspectives: Jon Cattapan and eX de Medici (touring 2011 - 2014)

Framing Conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan — Lyndell Brown and Charles Green (touring 2009 - 2012)