Period: The war years

Repatriated prisoner of war is processed Repatriated prisoner of war is processed
painted in London, 1945
oil on canvas 76.4 x 92 cm
signed l.r., oil “Stella Bowen”, not dated
Australian War Memorial
acquired under official war art scheme, 1945
ART26272

In the last stages of the war, Stella Bowen was assigned to Gowrie House at Eastbourne in Sussex, a repatriation centre where Australian servicemen who had been prisoners of war in Germany were debriefed, given medical examinations, and issued with new uniforms.

In a painting reminiscent of early Italian frescos illustrating the stages of prayer, Bowen painted a before-and-after view of a prisoner of war, surrounded by six depictions of hands, each representing a stage of the repatriation process as he undergoes medical and dental checks, and pay and kit issue.