Moresby picture show

Accession Number ART26770
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 65.7 cm x 55.3 cm x 4 cm; Unframed: 51.4 cm x 40.7 cm x .6 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas on hardboard
Maker Bush, Charles
Place made New Guinea1: Papua New Guinea, Papua, Port Moresby
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Soldiers standing in front of a large screen watching a Donald Duck animation. The weight and weariness of the soldiers in the foreground are contrasted with the lightness of subject and luminosity of the Disney character projected on the screen. The bodies are set against a small, angled screen. The figures stand stoically still in the drizzling rain and uncomfortable conditions, enjoying the simple pleasures of light entertainment. While the source of the projection cannot be seen, the forms of the men are defined by the light that reflects off the screen and onto their faces. Each silhouette is unique, and the distinctive Australian slouch hat can be seen on the figure on the far left of the painting. The image of the Disney character, holding the attention of wet and weary soldiers, is a somewhat incongruous one. The tropical climate of New Guinea presented soldiers with harsh conditions for both combat and general living. Most were not accustomed to the high humidity , let alone the inhospitable jungle and terrain. Those stationed at Port Moresby would have greeted the screening of films with much anticipation, welcoming any distraction from the realities of day-to-day living in New Guinea. Such events also provided the artist with atypical subject matter and an opportunity to record less grim aspects of wartime activity.