Desert camp

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number ART29770
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 51.8 x 68.5 cm; image: 51.8 x 68.5 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description brush and coloured inks, with pen and ink, heightened with white over pencil on paper
Maker Friend, Donald
Place made Australia
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Depicts a group of soldiers around tents in the desert. It is likely that the subject of this work is Charters Towers camp in North Eastern Queensland. Friend travelled to Charters Towers camp in December 1943 at the end of his involvement with the anti-malarial experiment program. In early December 1943, Friend had been making ideas for a painting of the place, in which 'the sky must be flat, crisp, yet with a feeling of enormous space, and the ground must stretch back in a dry infinity of perspective'. This work on paper shares similar characteristics.
Donald Friend enlistined with the AIF in 1942 and was posted as a gunner to the artillery unit near Albury. In 1945, he was selected for appointment as official war artist. Friend travelled to Morotai, Labuan and Balikpapan, recording sights which confronted him and drawing in particular on the expressive potential of human form. Friend was extraordinarily prolific, producing 53 paintings and 143 drawings for the Memorial.

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