British Women and Children Interned in a Japanese Prison Camp, Syme Road, Singapore

British Women and Children Interned in a Japanese Prison Camp, Syme Road, Singapore
Leslie Cole
British Women and Children Interned in a Japanese Prison Camp, Syme Road, Singapore

oil on canvas
66 x 92cm
IWM ART LD 5620

Skeletal figures carry out daily domestic activities inside a wooden hut. The British civilian population was interned in Syme Road when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942. After the camp was liberated, the inmates continued to live there, having nowhere else to go. However, the painting has an underlying theme of cleansing – the bath filled with water, the swathes of white sheets, and the draped washing suggest a quiet redemption from the dark days of imprisonment.