Roberts Hospital, Changi

Place Asia: Singapore, Changi
Accession Number ART24491
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 64 x 82.1 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on hardboard
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 2: Jap POW
Maker Griffin, Murray
Place made Singapore: Changi
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

It is almost certain that Griffin first conceived the subject of 'Roberts Hospital, Changi' early in 1942, although the painting was not completed until the following year. In the painting all three men clearly show the effects of malnutrition, although far worse was to come in the years of captivity ahead. The men are silent and withdrawn, enveloped in their own private suffering. The unhygienic conditions, the chipped mugs on wooden boxes and the soiled bedding are carefully recorded. The tropical heat and humidity in the ward are palpable, and through the open wall is a distant view of palms and vegetation. As an artist with a great love of the landscape Griffin was keenly aware that the human suffering he was witnessing was set against the lush natural beauty of Singapore.