Picture night - Milne Bay

Unit Cinemas
Place Oceania: New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay
Accession Number ART28169.001
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 21 x 33.8 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description lithographic crayon on paper
Maker Curtis, R Emerson
Place made New Guinea: Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Depiction of soldiers watching a film out-of-doors, Milne Bay, New Guinea. One of 8 drawings from a folio entitled by the artist 'Episodes in the life of Australian and American troops in New Guinea'. For three years (1942-1945) prior to his appointment as an official war artist Curtis worked with the Department of Home Security as a Camouflage Officer. In 1943 he was accredited for service with RAAF as Camouflage Officer in Charge, New Guinea and led the establishment of a research centre in the tropics. The Director of the Camouflage Section, W.J. Dakin, praised Curtis for leadership in what where often difficult conditions and commented on his drive, cheerful personality and ability to relate to men of all ranks.

Of this time the artist wrote ' ...how well I recall the urge to record everything - especially earlier in New Guinea Days when I had to make "do" with "litho sticks" and orderly room paper...'. Lithographic crayon turned out to be an ideal medium for working quickly from life in the tropics as it does not rub or smudge easily and Curtis's impressions of army life have survived well.