English sculptor Gladys Blaiberg (1882-1969) created paper sculptures of Australian troops in London during the First World War. In 1917, Blaiberg volunteered to work in the Australian Forces canteen in London where her interest in the Australian presence became a source of inspiration for her paper figures. Largely caricaturing the Australian troops, she became fascinated with their spirited sense of humour and irreverence for authority. In 1917-18, Blaiberg even exhibited the sculptures in her studio for the entertainment of the Australian troops.
In 1971, Gladys Blaiberg’s family presented to the Memorial thirty four paper sculptures depicting Australian soldiers during the First World War. They provide a rich source of historical material relating the experience of Australian troops based in London on leave and undergoing rehabilitation. This work continues in its relevance today.
Gladys Blaiberg’s sculptures will be included in the Memorial’s touring exhibition, Of love and war, which will open to the public at the State Library of Queensland on 4 November 2010.
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