Artist's statement

L'exhumation du soldat inconnu - France 1993

(The Exhumation of the Unknown Soldier - France 1993)

background:

In October 1993 I was involved with 'The Return of the Unknown Soldier'. This Ceremony consisted of receiving from the French Army the body of an exhumed First World War unknown soldier, the return to the country of origin Australia and the eventual re-entombment.

During this period I completed a series of sketches, which captured my first thoughts and feelings. These sketches (and photographs) consisted of individuals, military ceremonies and battlefield landscapes. Over the last few years I have reworked these sketches into a set of panels and a series of other works.

concept:

Originally I portrayed this concept using more conventional ideas and methods. Initial works consisted of uniformed figures situated amongst military tombstones with cemeteries as backdrops. The final work(s) depict figures without any method of identification; uniforms are unimportant, bodies become the monuments, all emotion is articulated by body shape and gesture.

My great hope is that this work conveys the tragedy of this conflict, the sensitive handling or disturbance in the removal of this Unknown Soldier from the original place of burial.

reason for being:

This work deals with a specific history; but should invoke contemplation of our contemporary situation. As we get on with our day to day lives conflict appears to be a constant backdrop, once again we have a new war for a new Century.