Flight or Fight #6 A Line in the Sand

Accession Number AWM2019.58.6
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 55 cm x 55.7 cm
Object type Textile
Physical description Sykes and Picot Map over Eastern Turkey in Asia, Syria and Western Persia on Printed Silk
Maker Cope, Megan
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Australia: Queensland, Brisbane, Stradbroke Island
Date made 2019
Conflict Period 2010-2019

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


In 2017 the Australian War Memorial commissioned its first female Aboriginal official war artist, Quandamooka woman Megan Cope, to travel to the Middle East to accompany various Defence units participating in Operation Accordion. She was initially sent to the United Arab Emirates, before being attached to Australian Defence Force units in the Middle East. There she recorded and interpreted subjects concerning Australia's contribution to the international effort in the Middle East Region.

Cope's series of works titled 'Flight or fight' was primarily inspired by a ten-hour flight she took over the Middle East. The inclusion of this map in the series is important Cope as it continues to cast a shadow over the current conflict in the Middle East, and as many ADF personnel referred to this map when discussing the geo-political landscape which Australia has been a part of. Cope deliberately printed the map on silk to connect with the Treaty’s secrecy at the time of its initial making. Its material fragility is a homage to historial accounts of RAAF pilots carrying fabric maps in their packs, so in the event of emergency or crash landings, their maps would withstand water damage.

Cope is part social cartographer, curator, writer and artist. Her site specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings lingers within the dualistic spaces of split heritage and contested land, investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and conflicted personal encounters. Her work explores the myths and methods of colonisation and circumvents hegemonic sovereignty.