Prisoners constructing a railway bridge, Thailand

Place Asia: Thailand
Accession Number ART25106
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 48.7 x 35.4 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description brush and brown ink and wash over pencil and coloured pencil on paper
Maker Griffin, Murray
Place made Singapore: Changi
Date made 1944-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Reconstruction of scene of prisoners building part of the Burma-Thailand railway. A guard stands watching some prisoners at work. Griffin originally volunteered to go to the railway, thinking conditions might be better. He gave up his spot for another man and remained in Changi for his entire captivity. Here, Griffin depicts the perilous conditions on the railway, which he was told about back in Changi prison by survivors of the atrocity. The men, in their emaciated state, were forced to work in treacherous conditions to complete the railway for the Japanese. In this work, Griffin uses his composition to draw comparison to the depths of hell, a theme he expressed in many of his Burma-Thailand railway works.