Portrait of a CO, painted by a SMN

Place Oceania: Australia, Queensland, Toowoomba, Cabarlah
Accession Number AWM2018.1270.1
Collection type Art
Measurement Unframed: 24.8 cm x 40 cm x 2.2 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on board
Maker anonymous artist
Place made Australia: Queensland, Toowoomba, Cabarlah
Date made 1 July 2018
Conflict Period 2010-2019
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

As part of being exhibited for the inaugural Napier Waller Art Prize exhibition (2018), this female anonymous artist provided the following artist statement about her work:

"Last year I spent a few weeks doing portraits of my family before I joined the military. Drawing someone gives space to have a conversation with no agenda – to
capture someone beyond the physical, in the moment. Fast forward a year and I had managed to ask my CO if I could paint his portrait.

"The pink slips of paper are the questions I asked him while we did an hour sitting. I hope the work gives some insight into the person behind the face of a role. A person with over 20 years’ military experience, having a conversation with a trainee SMN, not yet rated.

"10 Questions:
Do you believe in the concept of retiring?
Do you meditate?
What’s the worst advice you hear people give to new sailors/aircrew men/women /soldiers?
What books have you read that have been good enough to share with other people?
What do you think about before a public speaking gig? Has this changed over the years?
How has a failure, or apparent failure, led you to a latter success?
Do you think you are good at reading people?
In the last five years what habit or belief has most improved your daily life?" (anonymous artist, 2018)

'Portrait of a CO, by a SMN' by an anonymous artist was judged highly commended as part of the Memorial's 2018 Napier Waller Art Prize. Presented in partnership with Thales Australia, the University of Canberra and The Road Home, the Napier Waller Art Prize aims to promote artistic excellence, the healing potential of art for military personnel, and raise a broader awareness of the impact of service on the individual. In its inaugural year, the Napier Waller Art Prize attracted over 100 entries.