Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number ART23203
Title Crowds dancing, Kings Cross, Sydney
Collection Art
Object type Drawing
Maker Friend, Donald (Artist)
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 1945
Medium pen and coloured ink, crayon and pencil, with wash and scratching back on paper
Measurement sheet: 51.1 x 68 cm


This is a highly personal response to the celebrations that Donald Friend witnessed in Kings Cross, Sydney, after the announcement on 8 May of Germany's unconditional surrender at the end of the Second World War. The over-riding impression is one of extraordinary energy and exuberance. The amorphous dancing figures meld into each other, in an expression of complete abandonment. The figures are shedding their clothes, which reflects the end of the war, the pleasure of release, and the euphoria associated with this delirious new state. Bathed in the street lights, the figures are luminous against the dark background shadows, further symbolising the sense of exultation and freedom felt on hearing the news. In 1942, Donald Friend enlisting with the AIF, was posted as a gunner to the artillery unit near Albury. In 1945, Friend was selected for appointment as official war artist. He travelled to Morotai, Labuan and Balikpapan, recording sights which confronted him and drawing in particular on the expressive potential of human form. Friend was extraordinarily prolific, producing 53 paintings and 143 drawings for the Memorial.