Changi prison camp, early days

Accession Number ART24480
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 63.2 x 84.3 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil over pencil on wooden panel
Maker Griffin, Murray
Place made Singapore: Changi
Date made 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Members of the Australian Imperial Force, 8th Australian Division in Changi prison camp. Of this work he noted; 'I started to paint the life around me. Men showering under the eaves of buildings in rain - it was fresher water than in the tongs. Men doing chores, men dragging trailers loaded with camp necessities, men doing the hundred and one things prison camp required'. It shows conditions prior to the prison camp being provided with any amentities.

Murray was a painter, graphic artist and teacher. He was also an official war artist. Griffin was Taken POW at fall of Singapore, 15 Feb 1942, and he returned to Australia in Oct 1945. In this work the shoe of digging figure not fully painted. A small collection of works on paper by Murray Griffin, a captured official war artist, were done in Changi. Over the three years, Griffin's work changes from an optimistic record of camp life, to detached evidence of atrocities and death. His works deal with the themes of camp life, making do, the brutality of forced labour.