ID number ART22182
Title Nature Morte
Collection Art
Object type Drawing
Artist Friend, Donald
Place made Malaysia: Labuan
Date made 26 June 1945
Medium pen and ink on paper
Measurement sheet: 31.4 x 41 cm; image: 30.5 x 37.4 cm


This work depicts the remains of a party of Japanese who crossed in canoes from the mainland of Borneo to the island of Labuan and hid in the swamps of Garankak. After carrying on commando tactics for several days they were eventually surprised by an A.I.F partol who obliterated them. This was the last large party of Japanese that were met with on the island. This is a sketch for the painting ' Japanese dead from suicide raid, Labuan' (ART22857) of unidentified Japanese killed by AIF patrol during the Second World War. By late June 1945, Friend had made his first studies of the bodies of Japanese soldiers, who had been killed when they infiltrated the harbour area. These drawings included this simple pen and ink work showing tangled piles of bodies, on and under a makeshift platform or table like structure. For a few days towards the end of June 1945, Friend drew a number of sketches of the dead Japanese. In his Diary entry for 29 June 1945 he wrote; 'Did a highly successful drawing of a pile of corpses this gunfire, no rifle shots'.